Jay-Z's early lyrics a 'cry for help'
Jay-Z's early lyrics - telling of his struggle growing up in a tough part of New York - were a ''cry for help'' for his people.
Jay-Z's early lyrics were a "cry for help".
The 'Dirt Off Your Shoulder' hitmaker explained how his first raps were "defiant" in their message and designed to bring attention to his poor background and violent neighbourhood, the tough Marcy Projects in Brooklyn New York.
He said: "A lot of these lyrics are strong in nature because they're defiant, because no one's helping us, so we gotta strike back, but in the end of it it's all a cry for help and for attention, this was going on, this reporting.
"People shouldn' t just judge us as ignorant kids or drug dealers, it's much more than that, it's layers, complex things are going on in our homes and our hallways.
"Just imagine your kid growing up in the middle of Marcy projects when there were fiends in the hallway and shootouts on Sundays at twelve noon. You can't even imagine that happening, seeing someone killed for the first time when you're nine years old. Imagine that."
The rapper, who started writing his first lyrics aged nine, also explained how his style evolved as he grew up and his life experience became more important to him than technical ability.
He added in a video posted on YouTube: "When I first started writing wraps I was a kid, I didn't have any real life experiences, so I was trying to say things in different ways - faster flows and triplet styles and I was exploring a technical thing. "As I started getting out and getting more and more real life experiences, experiencing real emotions and going through things, it became more about the story less about being technical, more about the truth of what I was saying."