Lance “Un” Rivera has confirmed that Jay-Z was not the person that stabbed him during a heated confrontation at a Manhattan nightclub in December 1999.
During an interview with DJ Vlad, Rivera, the music exec who famously served as the business partner of late rap icon The Notorious B.I.G., recounted the infamous encounter between himself and Hov. “What happened that night… I showed up to [the party] to support [Q-Tip]. Jay, a bunch of us is in there. I ended up getting surrounded by a bunch of people. It was probably 10 knives that I knew of, and I ended up getting stabbed at the Kit Kat Club,” he recalled.
While Jay-Z was the person who was arrested and charged in relation to the incident, Rivera says it was someone else in his entourage who stabbed him. “No. Jay-Z was not the guy that actually stabbed me that night,” the Untertainment Records founder said when questioned if Hov was behind the assault.
“I don’t know where people got Jay-Z stabbed me from because if anybody knows Jay-Z, Jay-Z’s a nice guy,” Un said. “He’s an artist, he’s a poet, he’s gifted and it’s never been his history. If JAY-Z had stabbed me, y’all wouldn’t have got The Black Album because through my whole history, I’m an eye-for-an-eye type of guy.”
Rivera also stated that the discord between himself and Jay stemmed from rumors that he was responsible for leaking the rapper’s fourth studio album Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter to bootleggers a month in advance to its December 28 release date. He says that he and Jay had a conversation in which the mogul repeatedly told Rivera that he “broke” his heart with his actions prior to the violence ensuing.
“Me and Jay-Z had a conversation right before I got hit in the head with a champagne bottle,” the Brooklynite added. “It was a brief conversation and I was looking at him like, ‘What are you talking about? You know you f**king the money up right now.’
Rivera said that his concern at the time was on Jay-Z potentially ruining both of their lives and careers. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? You’re buggin’ right now, bro. You getting ready to f**k up everything.’” Despite reports that he was stabbed in both the back and the stomach, when asked by DJ Vlad where he was injured, Rivera only mentioned his back.
On December 2, 1999, Jay-Z turned himself into police for the stabbing and was placed under arrest before being released on $50,000 bail. The rapper, who was indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court in January 2000, initially pleaded not guilty, but later copped out to third-degree assault in exchange for three years probation. Hov would later address the incident in his 2010 book Decoded, albeit without mentioning Rivera by name. While Jay admits approaching Rivera in an angry manner, he doesn’t admit to being responsible for the stabbing or that it even took place, simply stating that “all hell had broke loose.”
“One night I went to Q-Tip’s solo album release party and at some point in the night, I ran into the guy everyone’s been telling me is behind the bootleg. So I approached him. When I told him what I suspected, to my surprise, he got real loud with me right there in the middle of the club. It was strange. We separated and I went over to the bar. I was sitting there like, “No the f**k this ni**a did not…” I was talking to people, but I was really talking to myself out loud, just in a state of shock. Before I even realized what I was doing, I headed back over to him, but this time I was blacking out with anger. The next thing I knew, all hell had broken loose in the club. That night the guy went straight to the police and I was indicted. […] There was no reason to put my life on the line, and the lives of everyone who depends on me, because of a momentary loss of control. […] I vowed to never allow myself to be in a situation like that again.”
Rivera’s interview also confirms the long-running rumor that Jay-Z was not the person responsible for his stabbing, a claim that was famously made by Nas on his 2001 Jay-Z diss track “Ether.” Nas cast doubt on Jay’s actual role in the crime, rapping “With whiskers like a rat, compared to Beans, you wack/ And your man stabbed Un and made you take the blame” on the song’s third verse as an affront on his then adversaries’ street credibility.
Watch Lance “Un” Rivera speak on the infamous 1999 stabbing incident below.