On his latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay Z raps about everything from Tom Ford tuxedos to cruising the same waters traveled by African slaves, but in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, the mega-star rapper gives us a glimpse into the life of Shawn Carter. In the interview he shares stories about growing up in Brooklyn and having to sell crack to make ends meet, wooing Beyonce and watching Blue Ivy respond to his music:
On whether he felt guilty about dealing drugs: “I started looking at the community on the whole, but in the beginning, no. I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes.”
On wooing Beyonce: “We were just beginning to try to date each other [in 2001]. Well, you know, you’ve got to try first. You got to dazzle . . . wine and dine.”
On rumors that Beyonce never had her pregnancy: “I don’t even know how to answer that. It’s just so stupid. You know, I felt dismissive about it, but you’ve got to feel for her. I mean, we’ve got a really charmed life, so how can we complain? But when you think about it, we’re still human beings.”
On baby Blue Ivy: “She does like her mother’s music—she watches [Beyoncé’s concerts] on the computer every night. But my album came out and I don’t know if Blue ever heard any of my music prior to this album—she’s only 18 months old and I don’t play my music around the house. But this album was new, so we played it. And she loves all the songs. She plays a song and she goes, ‘More, Daddy, more . . . Daddy song.’ She’s my biggest fan. If no one bought the Magna Carta [album], the fact that she loves it so much, it gives me the greatest joy.”
What do you think of the interview? If you could ask Jay Z a question, what would it be?