In the era of cancel culture, we’re often looking into celebrities’ lives and their pasts to put a magnifying glass on their mistakes and question their character. However, there is one story that has been kept under wraps for a long time, so long that people seem to have forgotten, and that is the story of how in 1999, Jay-Z stabbed a man at an album release party.
Having just released his fourth studio album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, Jay-Z was the hottest rapper in America and, as such, was getting invites to all the high-profile events that included the Q-Tip’s album release party for his project Amplified. In downtown Manhattan at the Kit Kat Club, Puffy was there, Lil Kim was there, Busta Rhymes and anybody who was important, including Hov.
Like a true star, Jay arrived fashionably late, arriving from his own listening party at Irving Plaza for Vol. 3… Life And Times Of S. Carter. Better late than never, Jay finally pulled up to the club in the company of Roc-A-Fella’s Beanie Sigel, Amil and Memphis Bleek. However, already in the club was someone in Hov’s bad book, the CEO and co-founder of Untertainment with Notorious B.I.G. Lance ‘Un’ Rivera.
Leaving the Kit Kat Club in an ambulance, Rivera was treated at New York’s St. Vincent Hospital for wounds to his shoulder and abdomen. To begin with, police didn’t have a primary suspect or any knowledge of the weapon used. However, many believe that Rivera named Shawn Carter as the attacker to the police. With a warrant out for his arrest, Hov turned himself in at the Midtown South Precinct and was charged with ‘felony assault in the second degree’.
Quickly incarcerated, Carter’s bail was set at $50,000, and within three hours, he was walking the streets again. However, Jay was facing a possible 15 years imprisonment if things didn’t go his way at trial. With his lawyer, Murray Richman, a notorious New York lawyer who used to handle cases for mob bosses in the 1960s and 1970s, Hov got a plea deal that reduced his 15-year sentence to 3 years probation. If Jay-Z had not received a plea deal, he would not be the billionaire he is today.
Hip hop owes a lot to Murray Richman, for we would not have the Jay we have today without him. Jay-Z told an interviewer once he was off probation that he learned a lot from the situation and, up until then, never realised how much he had to lose.
You can watch a news clip below from when the story broke.