Jay Z is not ashamed of his drug dealing past. The 46-year-old rapper features on Pusha T's new track, Drug Dealers Anonymous, and responds to a conservative pundit who criticised the mogul's previous career choice.
In February 2016, The Blaze correspondent Tomi Lahren slammed Jay Z's wife Beyonce for her performance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show which saw the singer salute the Black Panther Party movement. During the episode, Lahren said: "Your husband was a drug dealer. For 14 years he sold crack cocaine – talk about protecting Black neighbourhoods. Start at home."
A snippet of Lahren's quote is heard shortly before Jay Z delivers his verse on Drug Dealers Anonymous. The hip hop mogul raps: "14 drug dealer and still counting," before continuing to boast of the profits he made from the illegal trade: "Who deserves the medal of freedom is my accountant/ He been hula hooping through loop holes, working around s**t/ IRS should've had the townhouses surrounded."
Jay Z has been open about his drug dealing history and told Vanity Fair in 2013: "Do you know how many athletes go broke three years after they stop playing? I want to help them hold on to their money. I mean, I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer." The Grammy-winner also said previously in another interview: "I grew up around the '80s in Marcy projects in Brooklyn which is a really tough neighbourhood.
"For the first time, a whole neighbourhood got hit with a whole crack epidemic, no one had ever seen anything like this... It forces you to grow up fast and it's kind of sad because it robs you of your innocence. A child should be able to just not see these type of things." When asked if he remembers his first drug deal, Jay Z replies: "No, I can't. It's a long time ago." The rapper, real name Shawn Carter, also explained that he did not see the dangers in drug dealing at the time because it was "normal" for his area.
Listen to Jay Z and Pusha T's Drug Dealers Anonymous:
He said: "It was everywhere, there was an epidemic. [Former First Lady] Nancy Reagan was saying 'the war on drugs'. She was far, far away from it and she knew it was bad. I was right in it... It consumed every part of the place I lived... It was lawless, a forgotten area."
Later in his lengthy verse, Jay Z appears to make a slight reference to the song All Night which features on Beyonce's sixth studio album Lemonade. The rapper says: "I'm a course of miracles with this s**t/ Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists," which is similar to Beyonce's line: "Oh, nothing real can be threatened." Both are a reference to the spiritual book A Course In Miracles.