Is Jay the rapper, and Diddy the athlete; a combination of talents the two have cultivated for years; or is it all a joke or two?
It is easy to write off Jay Z as a joke on account of the rap mogul’s reputation for being, well, “Jay Z”. He has the bad-boy reputation; and in today’s world, that is the greatest compliment you can pay him. It is, however, a very recent development.
On April 9, 1997, the rapper was arrested for assault and resisting arrest following an altercation with a New Yorker named Michael Mancini (a real-life version of GQ editor-in-Chief Guy Fieri). During the altercation, Mancini lost his pants and the rapper used an empty can he’d been carrying to beat up Mancini. A day later, police found a .357 Magnum, a bottle of alcohol and a small amount of Xanax in the rapper’s possession. The charges were dropped. It was a pretty minor thing in the context of Jay Z being a major artist. At the time, it really wasn’t that out of the question.
Then, just a week later, the story got even bigger.
Jay Z and his girlfriend Rocawear (her first name was Rochelle) were on the East Coast for the first time in two years to celebrate the release of their debut album, The Black Album. With that in mind, Rochelle took her first plane out of the US to visit a friend, the producer Kanye West, in California. However, he didn’t let her fly out on his private plane because of an agreement with West’s lawyer. West, according to Rochelle, demanded a $300-million lawsuit from Jay Z, who had been involved in a legal dispute with West’s label, Def Jam.
However, the rapper wouldn’t pay up: “I didn’t [pay him] no money at all, and he would come there and there’s [other rappers] all over me. And I didn’t even know he was there. Like I was like, ‘Yo, what the fuck?’ You’ve gotta pay, you’ve gotta make that shit,” Rochelle told me.
West sued Jay Z for $300 million for using his name, image, endorsement and royalties without his permission in the lyrics and music. A jury found that the alleged infringement was substantial enough that the matter warranted trial to determine damages and royalties.
But not every rapper gets
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