Jay Z opened up in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, discussing his notorious history with drugs. The rapper and business mogul has shared some details about his pre-fame life in the past, but he was particularly candid in explaining what he had to deal with during days when "crack was everywhere" and even his mother knew he was living a life of crime.
In a lot of ways, the area Jay Z grew up in had a major effect on his early choices. Discussing the "inescapable" prevalence of crack, he says:
"There wasn’t any place you could go for isolation or a break. You go in the hallway; [there are] crackheads in the hallway. You look out in the puddles on the curbs—crack vials are littered in the side of the curbs. You could smell it in the hallways, that putrid smell; I can’t explain it, but it’s still in my mind when I think about it.”
Jay admits that he learned some of his current business strategies on the streets. “I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he said. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life."
That troubled history is long gone now, though. Bringing the conversation back to modern day, Jay Z talked about his beautiful family, calling Blue Ivy his biggest fan and mentioning the early days in his relationship with Beyonce.
He described courting the "Run The World" singer, saying she'd likely have dated him even if he had been a gas-station attendant rather than a superstar rapper, and admitted the line “She was a good girl ’til she knew me” is about Bey. Asked if his wife is a "good girl" anymore, Jay Z laughed. “Nah," he said. "She’s gangsta now.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Beyonce once worked at a gas station.