HBD Hov: 45 Quotes Jay-Z Has Gifted The World

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Jay-Z turns 45 today. While he’s reportedly chilling in Iceland we’ve dug up some of his hottest quotes. They’re insightful, philosophical, scathing and sarcastic. But before you start reading, a quick toast (We’ll get Ace on the re-up.).

1. “I was four years old but I remember that morning clearly. As my mom left for work, she told me to wait till she got home to practice riding my bike. My uncle had promised to put training wheels on the second bike I’d received from my cousin, but he hadn’t gotten around to it. Me being the younger of four kids, I was determined to be independent and not spoiled (Although my family will tell you that I am the latter.) I took the bike outside, and from 10 a.m. to 5pm. taught myself how to ride without training wheels. Because I was so small my whole block in Brooklyn was watching in amazement. It was my first feeling of being famous.” —VIBE, Jan 2003

2. “I was a really good student. In the sixth grade I was reading at a twelfth grade reading level. But I got bored. I started out just wanting to be the cool kid at school with the newest sneakers and shit. But then I didn’t want to see my moms working so hard. Four kids. That’s a lot of food and a lot of everything.” — The Source, November 1998

3. “If your dad died before you were born, yeah, it hurts—but it’s not like you had a connection with something that was real. Not to say it’s any better— but to have that connection and then have it ripped away was, like, the worst. My dad was such a good dad that when he left, he left a huge scar. He was my superhero.” —GQ, December 2011

4. “I was never a worker. And that’s not even being arrogant. I was just never a worker.” —VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

5. “My situation—I went out of town, not far, to Jersey. Me and my man. We was pioneering some shit. I was never around the [notorious Brooklyn drug dealer] Calvin Kleins, ‘cause to be around them you would have to be under them. You weren’t going to be over them. That would have been conflict.” —VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

6. “…in a small town you aint wildin’ out. You’ll go to jail. This shit is like a Commonwealth; they’ll lock you up for cursing. It takes a special nigga to do a small town. Anybody can do D.C. You strong-arm D.C. Y’all can shoot at each other every weekend.” — VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

7.“You go into a nigga’s town, you shining, and you messing with their broads. You go into their town, drive whatever you want. Shine, fine. But don’t fuck my baby’s mother, man. And my man’s baby’s mother and his man’s baby’s mother. ‘Cause now we sitting at Sizzler like this nigga fucked all our baby’s mothers. Now it’s a problem.” —VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

8. “It starts off as one thing. Then it becomes another. In the beginning it’s, ‘I gotta take care of my family’, but you can’t keep saying that, because in your first month, you’ve changed their whole situation around. Once you start living The Life it’s just no stopping…it’s like making the money, the sound of the money machines clicking,—for some people the sensation of the coke under their nails, like dirt for the construction workers—the constant hustle. Everything from the living to the actual work. It’s completely addictive.” —VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

9.“I’ve known so many people that didn’t make it. Most people can look at a picture of the kids they grew up with and it’s like ‘Oh yeah—Adam went away to Harvard.’ This is a whole different conversation.” —GQ, December 2011

10. “It was in Virginia that I met my second serious girlfriend, Stephanie (everybody called her Fannie). What people don’t know about me is that I’ve always been in long-term relationships. My first real relationship was with this girl from Long Island, and it lasted five years. I was with Fannie for another five. It was on a long drive from New York to Virginia that I rally bonded with Fannie. She told me her dreams of going back to school and making something of herself, and I told her my dreams of being an MC. She was the first person I let know how discouraged I was by the music business…Fannie followed me to New York. And even though I put her up in a nice apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and took care of her material needs, my level of commitment to her couldn’t compete with what I was willing to give to make this rap thing work. I didn’t record it till years later, but “Song Cry” had been writing itself in my head ever since Fannie left me to go home to Virginia.” —VIBE, Jan 2003

11.“I understand women. I know they’re smarter than men, that’s why I can write for them…plus, I think it’s my lips or something…maybe they think I’m gonna eat their coochie.” —VIBE, Dec 1998, Jan 1999

12. “I don’t think any rapper can go back. You can be a car salesman, a bank teller—I mean, really good jobs, and people are still gonna look at you and be like “You used to rap; what happened?” —VIBE, April 1999