Playboy Interview

Playboy Interview

Our 2003 Interview with JAY-Z, Back When He and Beyoncé Were 'Just Friends'

Our 2003 Interview with JAY-Z, Back When He and Beyoncé Were ‘Just Friends’

This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue playboy magazine. Here’s a story about Jay-Z: One recent night he was gambling with Kevin Liles, president of Def Jam, the label that distributes Jay-Z’s records. When the bets were finished, Liles was down $10,000. The next day he gave $10,000 cash to a messenger and sent it to the studio where Jay-Z was working. The rapper refused the money and sent the messenger back with these words:“Tell Kevin he’s got to deliver it himself.” Jay-Z plays for big stakes and insists on honor. When he prevails, he doesn’t hesitate to gloat or talk trash. His favorite basketball player is Michael Jordan and, like Jordan, he savors competition as much as victory. This story affirms the self-portrait that he draws in hits like “Big Pimpin’”, “H to the Izzo” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”: He’s the Don Corleone of rap (“Young Vito” is one of his many nicknames), a street-hardened former drug dealer who drinks Cristal, smokes cigars and…

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