Jay-Z Reveals Shooting His Brother When He Was 12

The rappers admits that after he shot his crack addict brother, he thought he'd "go to jail forever"

With his successful career and happy marriage, it might seem like Jay-Z has it all. But life hasn't always been so easy for the rapper -- and now he's opening up about a particularly dark moment from his past.

During an interview with the UK's Guardian, the Grammy winner (who recently released his debut book Decoded) reveals that at the age of 12 he shot his older brother -- who, at the time, was struggling with a crack addiction.

The superstar (whose real name is Shawn Carter), revealed that he pulled the trigger on his brother after he'd stolen his ring. Jay-Z describes the moment after the shooting. "I thought my life was over," he says. "I thought I'd go to jail forever."

But, his older brother opted not to press charges and even apologized to the young Jay-Z. "It was terrible," he says. "I was a boy, a child. I was terrified." 

As Entertainment Weekly notes, this isn't the first time the rapper has talked about the terrifying incident. He had gone over it in previous interviews, including one with Oprah Winfrey in 2009, and even revealed it in his 1997 song "You Must Love Me" with the lyrics: "Saw the devil in your eyes/ High off more than weed/ Confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed." But it doesn't make the story any less compelling.

Jay-Z explains that growing up in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood gave him easy access to guns. "Guns were everywhere," he tells the Guardian. "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." But, despite his upbringing, the rapper managed to create his own entertainment empire that includes music, clothing, and sports, among many other facets. Of course, he also married one of the most beautiful and talented women in the world, Beyonce Knowles.

The amazing direction his life has taken is not lost on Jay-Z. He explains to the Guardian that after being shot at three times, it was like "there was some rogue angel watching over us." 

Are you surprised to hear about Jay-Z's past? Chime in below.

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