Jay-Z brings it all back home

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn’s finest returned to the borough where it all began on Thursday night, reminiscing about being a crack king in the Marcy projects before becoming hip-hop royalty in the 1990s.

In a lengthy interview with Charlie Rose in a packed auditorium in the Brooklyn Museum, Jay-Z continued his role as rap’s ambassador — and promoted his new book, “Decoded” — while his adoring fans hung on his very word, laughed at every joke, and clapped at every opportunity.

“Hip-hop is poetry,” Jay-Z said, with his wife, Beyonce, and his mother, Gloria Carter. “I’m telling the story of a generation of people who grew up through an era that was very difficult.”

That time was in the 1990s, when the then–Shawn Carter lived with his mother in Bedford-Stuyvesant and hustled rock.

Rose asked Jay-Z — now known by his self-declared nickname “Brooklyn’s Finest” — to share how he got into the crack game.

“It wasn’t difficult — it was one conversation [to sell crack],” said Jay-Z. “I made and lost a lot of money. Even a corner hustler had a dream: that he could make it out of an environment of hopelessne­ss.”

Naturally, Rose had to ask if he had ever used the drug that he pushed for the better part of his youth.

“No. Crack cocaine — no,” said Jay-Z. “Come on man, that’s hardcore. Maybe a little weed. A Ballantine. Or a Guinness Stout.”

The biggest laughs of the night came when Rose put his foot in his mouth, mispronouncing Tupac Shakur’s name as “two-pack.”

“White people call Tupac ‘Two-pack’ ” said Jay-Z, getting the biggest laugh of the night. “If it were ‘Two pack’ there would be a ‘K’ at the end. You’re not the first, hopefully after tonight you’ll be the last.”

That threw the normally on-point Rose off his game, but a fist-bump from Jay-Z got the interview back on track.

Rose stuck mostly to the classic celebrity interview script, so the main area of local interest — Jay-Z’s miniscule ownership stake, and outsized public role, in the soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets — was unaddressed.

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michelle says:
It's Shawn, not Sean.
Nov. 19, 2010, 4:55 pm
Dave-z from Marcy says:
Jay-Z, Bruce Ratner's attempt at Street Cred.
Nov. 19, 2010, 5:14 pm
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Crack king? why i am not surprised? werent all these rappers drug dealer at one time?.wow this country"s gone to poo.with ex drug dealers renovating the best parts of Brooklyn, great example.
Nov. 20, 2010, 3:29 am
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Nov. 20, 2010, 3:30 am
Elel from Flatlands says:
Picture in the back of Jay-Z and Charlie Rose is NOT the Marcy Houses! Perhaps Jay-Z was too polite to mention the NYCHA faux pas?
Nov. 20, 2010, 10:57 am
Brian from from Bed Sty says:
This is just a PR attempt to put him in a good light why did his former partner and other get busted for drugs. feds say they sold for 20 years
Nov. 20, 2010, 12:53 pm
Tayshaun from Marcy says:
What did he say about Tupac? That he was better than him? Wouldn't be surprised if he remotely hinted at it. Everyone who isn't half mentally challenged knows that Tupac was and in terms of the music he has left us, still is, zillions of light years ahead of Jay-Z.
Nov. 21, 2010, 9:12 pm

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