Like many fellow rappers, Jay Z (born Shawn Carter) grew in the streets of Brooklyn. When he turned 16 he started gravitating in the criminal circuit of pushers, prostitutes, drug dealers and junkies – he started selling drugs himself, even if he was deeply into music and mc-ing. In 1988 he was arrested and put in reform-school, where he met two future stars: Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I.G.) and Trevor Smith (Busta Rhymes).
In 1992 he definitely detached himself from the criminal world and totally devoted himself to rap, working on many underground hip-hop productions and then starting an independent record label (with his friend Damon Dash), called Roc-A-Fella Records.
The newborn label became the means, for Jay Z, to release his debut album “Reasonable doubt” (1995), a work which put him on the map as one of the best new rappers around. With a distribution deal signed…