In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with rapper Jay-Z from the April 2003 issue.
“I fire my accountant every year. Every time I pay taxes, he’s fired. Uncle Sam did not go in that recording booth with me. He didn’t bang his head against the wall until he came up with the hook for Hovi Baby. It’s crazy, the checks that I send to the government, for nothing. And then my accountant says, ‘Be happy that you’re fortunate enough to cut this check.’ Oh yeah? Fuck you! You’re fucking fired! That’s my response. Then I hire him back, because he’s right.”
“At any given time, I don’t have protection on me. One time I heard Russell Simmons say, ‘I don’t even want to see a gun. I don’t want no friends with guns.’ I was like, He’s crazy. But now I feel the same way. I’m seldom with a bodyguard. I like to go and come as I please.”
“I think God protects anyone with a good heart. People say, ‘That’s a comfort blanket so you can do whatever the fuck you want.’ But my intention was good. I was in a place where there’s no hope. It was like, Fuck, man, I ain’t going to continue to live like this. I’ve got to do something. Then I got addicted to drug dealing. It was fun. It helped my situation, helped everyone around me.”
“I believe that every black person has a responsibility. When you do good, everyone is looking at you—every black person. So you’re the same person as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. I’m not just representing the hood and Roc-A-Fella Records, I’m representing for the whole culture. A lot of people look at me like they looked at Martin Luther King.”
To read the interview in its entirety on your Kindle App, Kindle Fire or Kindle Touch, click below.
Or read the interview with access to all Playboy interviews on iPlayboy.