Jay-Z is one of hip-hop's most successful moguls. But before he was a multi-hyphenate, the Roc Nation head sold drugs on the streets of New York City. He recently opened about his regrets with his drug-dealing past in a revealing interview with The New York Times.
The 47-year-old was asked if he's ever spoken since to anyone that he sold drugs to, and the Brooklyn native said that he has not. However, when asked what he would say to his former clientele, he responded: "Nothing's impossible. I guess that conversation would definitely take ownership for my part in, um, you know, the part I played in occupying that space."
He went on to say that he believes that there's karmic consequences for his actions and in retrospect, he would change what he did: "Because knowing what I know now, you know, you can't sacrifice others for your life. There's a karmic debt that has to be paid. Had I had the level of consciousness then that I have now, things would have turned out differently. And just knowing that ... I definitely want everyone to know that."
Back in 2013, Jay spoke to Vanity Fair about how selling drugs helped give him his business acumen.
"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."
He also shared that he knew he would have to give up the illicit lifestyle due to consequences — legal and otherwise — eventually: "At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”
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