In May 2016 Swizz Beatz shared this photograph, showing off a stack of signed $2 bills that Jay Z had given him, with the lyrics to “22 Two’s” written on the band.
$2 bills are seldom seen in circulation as a result of banking policies with businesses. Due to this lack of demand the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing
has low production numbers for this bill.
This comparative scarcity in circulation, coupled with a lack of public knowledge that the bill is still in production and circulation, has inspired many urban legends and occasionally has created problems for people trying to use the bill to make purchases.
Hov is likely to have a stack of these rare bills on his person at any given time, and regularly hands them out to friends, fans and fellow artists he meets—for good luck. He was inspired by his friend, lawyer Steven Reisman. Reisman began the practice in 2006, and it has been estimated that he gives out around $50,000 a year in $2 bills to friends and strangers. Backstage at an Ed Sheeran concert in 2013 Reisman told the singer and his entourage that “the only person who ever takes them all is Jay Z. Whenever he sees me he’ll reach in my pocket, take them out, and say ‘I’m giving out the $2 bills today, okay?’”
In September 2011 Jay and Beyoncé
were spotted giving out the bills at the US Open tennis tournament in Queens. At his “Made in America” festival in Philadelphia in both 2013 and 2014 Hov rained $2 bills down on the crowd. He handed them out to attendees at the tenth anniversary celebrations for The 40/40 Club in June 2013. In an interview with MTV News in January 2014, shortly after he appeared during J. Cole’s birthday show in New York City, Dreamville Records artist Bas shared this anecdote: “It’s funny. I came offstage and I went in the green room and Jay Z came up to me and was like, ‘Dope set.’ Then he dapped me and gave me two $2 bills. I got 'em in my wallet right now. I’m keeping them forever.” During that show Hov had been feeling rather generous, being it was the night he gifted J. Cole one of his original Roc-A-Fella Records chains.
Polo wearing. The first nigga with a Benz and a backpack. Bulls jacket with his hat broke way off. The “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” Kanye. Bernie Mac skits.
I miss the old Kanye.
Soul samples sped up. Teddy bear in a suit. Outselling 50 when Fiddy was THAT dude. Only Chicago cat with a ROC chain. Bro you did a track with Dilated People’s. Threw Twista, Lupe, Mos Def, Common and Talib on your projects. My G…you had Jay-Z and Nas on your album when they were beefin with each other.
Dilla died and you produced a whole album in his style. For the culture.
You see I’m a fan. You’re the last Rapper to change the game. Good or bad. Drake’s style? Yeezy taught him. Kendrick or Cole getting political on radio tracks? Yeezy made it ok again. I say “again” cause hip hop goes through cycles. 50 changed the game from the Puffy Shiny Suit era. Kanye made it ok to rap like a regular person with big dreams. Spaceships.
You see I’m a fan. I remember your first Street team. I still got the free “Get Well” t shirt and mixtape. The original “through the wire” recording. I remember you coming out in the middle of a Twista show at the House of Blues…and niggas lost their minds for you. I remember the track you did for EC Illa.
I miss that old Kanye.
I miss the Chicago Kanye. The one at the school full of stones…nicknamed K Rock so they leave you alone. The “heck y nah” Kanye. Mentioning Showbiz Pizza on two singles when nobody else in America would understand. I miss it. I miss that crack music nigga. You were our first homegrown transcendent hip hop star. Polarizing. D Rose before D Rose. We couldn’t tell you nothing.
But I heard em say…nothings ever promised tomorrow today.
And when it all…it all falls down.
I haven’t seen a genuine smile for you in a hot 16. You probably haven’t cried in the same amount of time. I mean, I can’t imagine. Your momma died. Cameras everywhere. 634,820 tabs open on your screen. Why wear a watch. You used to be on TV talking like it’s just me and you. I used to dig that. Now you’re on TV talking like you know you’re on TV.
I was never mad at the cocky Kanye. You’re from Chicago Joe. That’s us…even when we’re struggling. Hard to be humble when you’re stuntin on a jumbotron. That’s not what I’m getting at.
You’ve been Bruce Wayne too long my nigga. You haven’t been Batman in a while.
Batman don’t even like Bruce Wayne bro. Batman our hero. Wayne? Just that rich cat with emotional issues that we can’t relate to. Ya dig? But…you was who you was before you got here. Ask your big bro.
I ain’t mad at the Kim thing. Shit. She’s bad as fuck bro. But a circus is a circus. Never seen a wolf in a circus. We miss the wolf.
And when he get on he’ll leave Ya ass for a white girl…
We see you with Trump now…looking like a bad wax museum version of yourself. It’s hard to believe you’re the same cat. Detroit Red cleaned up? It’s like we got Merrill Lynched. You building your own wall away from us. The same people you used to rep.
Even if you in a Benz, you’re still a nigga…in a coupe.
I miss the old Kanye. I’m still rooting for you. Still got that shirt. “Get Well”
“A lot of people keep asking me about MY ROC chain, so here’s the story: First off, I’ve been part of the Roc-A-Fella Records team since 1995 when the record label I represented as Vice President of A&R singed Jay-Z to a P&D deal and we released Reasonable Doubt. I was one of the only cats on the west besides my boy Mark Brown that repped them heavy. I remember radio tours for RD in Jacksonville, FL to walking through the Beverly Center with Jigga back then. FYI I was always closest with Damon. We had very similar loud mouth dickhead personalities. But I spoke to Biggs often. Biggs personally handed me my 2 RD gold plaques. I remember when I got my Streets Is Watching letterman jacket, it was as big as receiving my letterman jacket in HS and college. Skip to 1999 and when these chains were made. (The first ever Roc Chains were made by Tito then the others were made by Jacob.) I got my first ROC chain in 2000 at the Song Cry video shoot from Dame. Long story short. Around the same time Biggs owed me $100 for some weed(OG Cali Kush) and I constantly kept pressing him to give me my money. I’d see him every year and asked and he acted like he ain’t hear me even though he was making 9 figures smh. So cut to last week in Santa Monica when Biggs came to LA to set up the pop up shop. We sat down and had lunch and he asked me to join him in some press for RD and I told the story about him owing me 100 bucks. Right there Biggs stopped the interviewer and said Ben. The Rose chains is yours! Now stop asking me for the $100! And he gave me $1 and said every time I see you I will give you $1! So I gotta see you 99 more times to pay this off. THANK YOU KAREEM BIGGS BURKE! I got too much love for you! That shit you told me on Friday put tears in my eyes. I idolized you growing up, Also hearing it from Hov last night meant a lot too. Now history on the chain. Only 3 were made for the 3 Roc founders. Made by Chris Aire & it’s legendary. Dame still has his. Jay gave his to Emory Jones and this one is mine. These were also the only ones ever made in rose gold. To be real, Nobody had chains made in rose gold back then.”
This week JAY Z and DJ Khaled announced that Roc Nation is now the management group overseeing the career of Khaled and his label We The Best. As part of their final contract meeting Hov decided to give Khaled the LAST original Roc-A-Fella Records chain that he owned.