london a z

Jay-Z, photographed at a dinner celebrating Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams’ 29th birthday, at Ayoush restaurant in London on July 23, 2009.

Hov wore a shirt with a famous Dave Chappelle quote printed on it: “You can’t get un-famous. You can get infamous. But you can’t get un-famous.”

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Skunk Anansie — You Do Something To Me (Live In London An Acoustic)

You do something to me 

Somewhere deep inside 

I’m hoping to get close to 

A peace I cannot find —

“I dabbled in crazy weight, without rap I was crazy straight, partner, I’m still spending money from ‘88!″

A young Shawn Carter, photographed showing off his jewelry and assets during a recording session at Battery Studios in London in 1989.

The photo was taken during a trip to the English capital when Hov was helping his early rap mentor record his debut album Word to the Jaz. EMI sent Jaz there to record with with Brian “Chuck” New, a producer who was riding on the success of his work with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Jaz, Hov and Irv Gotti stayed in a luxurious apartment in Notting Hill and were treated like royalty by The Jaz’s record label.

Jay broke down the experience in his autobiography Decoded in 2010: “Jaz invited me along for the ride. Inside I was doing backflips and shit, but when I told my crew, they didn’t share my excitement. They thought I was bugging for leaving the block at a time when we were doing so well. ‘These rappers are hoes,’ was the general response. ‘They just record, tour, and get separated from their families, while some white person takes all their money.’ But it didn’t matter to me. Jaz’s money was real; I respected that. And even though I didn’t go around talking about it to even my closest friends, I believed I could make it as a rapper, too.”

A 19-year-old Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, photographed during a recording session at Battery Studios in London in 1989.

The photo was taken during a month-long trip to the English capital when Hov was helping his early rap mentor record his debut album Word to the Jaz. EMI sent Jaz there to record with with Brian “Chuck” New, a producer who was riding on the success of his work with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Jaz, Hov and Irv Gotti stayed in a luxurious apartment in Notting Hill and were treated like royalty by The Jaz’s record label.

Jay broke down the experience in his autobiography Decoded in 2010:“Jaz invited me along for the ride. Inside I was doing backflips and shit, but when I told my crew, they didn’t share my excitement. They thought I was bugging for leaving the block at a time when we were doing so well. ‘These rappers are hoes,’ was the general response. ‘They just record, tour, and get separated from their families, while some white person takes all their money.’ But it didn’t matter to me. Jaz’s money was real; I respected that. And even though I didn’t go around talking about it to even my closest friends, I believed I could make it as a rapper, too.”

Jay-Z, photographed performing in London on August 25, 1997. 

Hov was in town to perform on the Tim Westwood-curated stage at the city’s “Notting Hill Carnival,” alongside Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Kim, Common [Sense], Beenie Man, Red Rat & Goofy from the Main Street Crew and Glamma Kid. The carnival is the second largest street festival in the world, and ‘97′s iteration boasted a massive 1.3 million attendees. The carnival was a free event that didn’t usually host big names, but Westwood somehow managed to get the above acts to travel all the way to England to perform.