Friday, May 20, 2011


Can't you tell that I came from the dope game?
Blame Reagan for making me into a monster
Blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra
I ran contraband that they sponsored
Before this rhyming stuff we was in concert
(From "Blue Magic," the first single off his 2007 American Gangster album.  The stuff about Oliver North and Iran-Contra is a reference to the fact that the CIA admitted many years later that it had turned a blind eye to Contra supporters "who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking" -- and that's why Jay-Z says he ended up as a teenaged crack dealer.  "Iran-Contra" and "I ran contra-[band]" are homonyms -- words that have the same sound and same spelling, but different meanings.  Jay-Z's use of "in concert" to mean "working together" instead of its expected meaning -- a live musical performance -- is another example of his skill as a wordsmith.) 

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