Jay-Z Shot His Brother When He Was 12

Stolen jewelry and a crack-addiction led the rap superstar to shoot his brother. He was twelve.

Jay-Z Shot His Brother When He Was 12

Rap mogul Jay-Z recently talked to The Guardian about shooting his older brother when he was 12 years-old. The interview marks the first time the hip-hop superstar has publicly talked about the incident, apart from in his 1997 song “You Must Love Me.”

As the story goes, the rapper’s older brother had become addicted to crack and stolen one of Jay’s rings. A young, and at the time, drug-dealing Jay-Z then proceeded to borrow a gun and shoot his brother in the shoulder.

Regret and shame still seem to plague 40 year-old rapper. In “You Must Love Me” he raps, “Saw the devil in your eyes, high off more than weed, confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed. What a sound, opened my eyes just in time to see ya stumbling to the ground… Ran straight to Jazz’s house, like a stranger, damn, I just shot my n___a, and ran off into the night as if it was not my n___a.”

Jay-Z told The Guardian, “[after the shooting] I thought my life was over. I thought I’d go to jail for ever… It was terrible. I was a boy, a child. I was terrified.” However, his brother chose not to press charges and, instead, apologized for “what crack had turned him into.” The two get along well nowadays.

The incident wasn’t Jay’s only encounter with guns, as he mentions that he got shot at three separate times whilst dealing crack-cocaine. However, the hip-hop star did state that the event was the only time he’s ever shot a person.

Check out “You Must Love Me” below, the only song Jay-Z’s released about the incident.