The subject line of this email is from "Big Pimpin'," a song that Jay-Z wrote as a response to being charged with assault for stabbing record producer Lance Rivera in the stomach during an altercation in a nightclub.
The way those two things are tied together is: Jay-Z was potentially looking at fifteen years in prison for the incident. He thought he was done for. He thought he was going to violent reflex of a justice system that had attempted and failed to lock up Puff Daddy the winter before for a shootout he was involved in at a separate New York nightclub. And so "Big Pimpin'" was, in a way, designed to be one last massive and hedonistic celebration before being sent away. (This is all very clear if you watch the video for "Big Pimpin'" for even just ten seconds.) Fortunately for Jay (and for us), his lawyers were able to make a trade: Jay-Z would plead guilty to the charge, and in exchange he would receive three years probation and no actual prison time.
The origin story of how "Big Pimpin'" came to be is interesting in and of itself, but I bring it at this particular moment to say: the part of the song I quoted in the subject line of this email actually belonged to Bun B. He says it during his very excellent guest verse on the song. And that's important today because (1) The book that I've been working on for the past 18 months, HIP-HOP (AND OTHER THINGS), is officially done. We sent it off to the printer this morning. (2) Nobody knows who wrote the foreword for the book. I just listed that person as FAMOUS RAPPER. But I'm going to right now tell you who it is who wrote it. It was Bun B, one of my all-time favorite rappers. (3) Don't fucking tell anybody. I'm gonna keep it a secret for a while.
Thanks. Stay safe out there. Listen to "Big Pimpin'" on your phone. And go preorder the book real fast if you haven't already.