There's a certain amount of intrigue that comes with being Jay-Z. Beyond the sheer allure of his current celebrity, Hov has captivated his audience for years with detailed accounts of his drug-dealing past, former demons and braggadocio.
It all officially started on his classic 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt where the lavishly laced MC with no chart-topping singles or platinum plaques, but dark underworld ties boasted: "I'm still spendin' money from '88."
In the years that followed, we'd learn just as much about Jay from his lyrics as his interviews — maybe more. On 2000's The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, he opened up about the child that he lost with a former girlfriend ("This Can't Be Life") and his resentment toward his absentee dad ("Where Have You Been"). The next year, on The Blueprint, Hov explored his distrust for women on "Song Cry" and on 2006's Kingdom Come he shared the pain he felt from the 2005 death of his nephew. It isn't all pain, in 2012 just days after his the birth of his daughter Blue Ivy, Jay dropped "Glory," a proud ode to his new love.
On his latest, Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z continues to open up in his lyrics, giving listeners perspective of his life and innermost thoughts. Here's what we learned.
Being a Dad Sometimes Scares The Hell Out of Jay
Hov is a proud papa, but on "Jay Z Blue (Daddy Dearest)," he confronts some pretty serious demons. Jay has rhymed before about growing up without his dad, who skipped out on his mom after his uncle was killed. Now he ponders if those scars will ultimately affect his relationship with baby Blue Ivy. "And I got that n---a blood in me/ I got his ego and his temper/ All is missing is the drugs in me," he rhymes about the similarities between his dad.
Ask Boras He Don't Want It With Hov, Nooooooo
In rap Jay has gone up against the best of them. Nas, 50 Cent, Mobb Deep, Ma$e and Jim Jones have all found themselves on the receiving end of a Hov dis, but now that he has his feet firmly planted in the sports world Jigga sets his sights on one of the most powerful sports agents in the world. "Scott Boras, you over baby/ Robinson Cano, you coming with me," he raps of his recent signing of the New York Yankees all-star second baseman.
Jay-Z Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman, Foxy Brown
Ever since the God MC hooked up lyrically with Foxy Brown on 1996's "Ain't No N---a" there has been rumors that the two had hooked up outside the studio as well. Nas once teased him about it on 2001's "Ether," and early this year, rumors of an old love affair began to kick up again. But after Jay addresses the matter on "Picasso Baby," we think they can pretty much be laid to rest. "I never stuck my co-- in the Fox's box," he rhymes.
Yes, Jay-Z Knows He's Old, So What?
Used to be that rappers began losing relevance after 30, but at 43 years old, Jay is still at the very top of his game. Age is nothing but a number, and on "Picasso Baby," the crafty veteran proves it. "Even my old fans like, 'Old man, just stop'/ I could if I would but I can't, I'm hot," he chuckles.
Jigga Don't Pop Molly
Doesn't look like hip-hop's fascination with Molly will die down any time soon, but rap's king of cool draws a definitive line on Magna Carta. He rarely smokes marijuana, but when it comes to the new "it" drug Jigga man wants none of it. "I don't pop Molly," he says defiantly on "Tom Ford."
Jay Didn't Forget About Lil Wayne's Lil Dis
When MTV News asked Jay-Z what he thought of Lil Wayne's "kidnap your bitch" line from Tha Carter IV's "It's Good," Hov shrugged it off as mere sport. "I don't even see why that's news," he told us then.
Whatever the case Jay clearly hasn't forgotten about the shot. "N---as wanna kidnap wifey/ Good luck with that bruh/ You must gonna hide your whole family/ What you think we wearing black for," he responds.