Prior to Jay-Z's rise to the top of an estimated $450 million empire, the 40-year-old mogul once thought that he would never see the light of day as a free citizen due to his troubled upbringing.
During a recent interview for his debut memoir, 'Decoded,' the Brooklyn rapper (born Shawn Carter) revealed to British newspaper The Guardian the thoughts that ran across his mind after shooting his brother over a stolen ring at age 12.
"I thought my life was over," he said. "I thought I'd go to jail for ever. It was terrible. I was a boy, a child. I was terrified. ...Guns were everywhere. You didn't have to go far to get one. Just everywhere. There were shootouts, but I never shot anyone else. Most people in shootouts don't get shot."
Although his brother, who Jay admitted was addicted to crack at the time, did not press charges on the future Grammy Award winner, he detailed the incident on his 1997 song 'You Must Love Me,' rapping, "Saw the devil in your eyes, high off more than weed, confused. I just closed my young eyes and squeezed."
For Hov (as he is also known) the dark period included being shot at three times-- and never hit. Of his assailants' poor aim, Jay-Z muses, "It's like there was some rogue angel watching over us." Perhaps a few hail Mary's are in order.