Jay-Z Decodes His Verse From Puff Daddy’s ‘Young G’s’

Movies & TV

Hov dropped off another exclusive excerpt from the upcoming paperback version of Decoded. Last week, we posted a snippet from Jay-Z’s “Lost Ones,” off The Black Album. Today, take a look what Jigga had to say about his lyrics from Puffy’s “Young G’s,” which was included on his debut album, No Way Out. (Thanks To VIBE OG Rob Kenner/Complex)

Puff Daddy f/ The Notorious B.I.G. & Jay-Z “Young G’s” (1997)
[Second verse] Jay-Z
These here’s the dog years1 ’cept motherfuckers don’t shed
I try to bring you life but motherfuckers want dead
So I travel with the barrel, with the chrome, with the lead2
’Cause when it’s on, then it’s on, till shots flown through your head
I been rich I been poor, I saved and blown bread
Some say I been here before because of the way I zone
Some said, Jigga zone is like the falling of Rome
Reoccuring, that he thinks like that cause he’s observant
Won’t be known until I’m gone and niggas study my bones3
Mentally been many places, but I’m Brooklyn’s own
In the physical, unseen, like a lost body
In fact my thoughts don’t differ much from that of God body4
But it’s the R shottie5, that got cats likening me
To the mob John Gotti6, rap dudes biting me ’cause
I got it locked like the late Bob Marley
Pardon me y’all, the great Bob Marley
Solemnly we mourn, all the rappers that’s gone
Niggas that got killed in the field and all the babies born
Know they ain’t fully prepared for this New World Order7
So I keep it ghetto like sunflower seeds and quarter waters8
You walk ’em through it, you know, talk ’em through it
Know these beats is more than music whenever I talk to it
Destined for greatness and y’all knew this, when I doubled the pie
Had a shorty and a girdle coming out of BWI9 (in school)
I hated algebra but I loved to multiply
And I told my nigga Big I’d be multi before I die10
It’s gonna happen whether rapping or clapping have it your way
’Cause if that’s my dough you’re trappin, I’m clappin’ your way

2. This might seem redundant—each of these, the barrel, the chrome, and the lead, is talking about the same thing—but breaking them down into their components allows the image to build in the listener’s mind, like the aw shit scene in every action movie where the hero assembles his gun, locks, and loads.

5. Refers to a .30-06 shotgun, known as a thirty-aught. We pronounced “aught” like it was “r.” We didn’t even know the proper names of the guns we carried; like with most things, we were improvising our way through, doing the best we could with the information we had.

7. “New World Order” was a phrase used by George H. W. Bush to describe the postcommunist world, but many of us understood it as a code phrase for the secret societies that controlled governments and economies. The suspicious deaths of our great heroes— from Bob Marley to the “rappers that’s gone,” all “killed in the field” of battle, the battle between good and evil, to put it simply—was part of that New World Order’s agenda. This kind of conspiracy theory was commonplace where I’m from; it may have been borne of paranoia, but, as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone’s not out to get you. Biggie and Pac could testify to that.