I used to say fuck mic skills, I never prayed to God, I prayed to Gotti
Jay-Z didn’t worry about rapping and never prayed (or in other words never did anything that might give him hope). He just idolized John Gotti, the infamous mafia kingpin and valued hustling and drug dealing above all else.
Jay-Z in Decoded explains this line saying,
“This reflects that way I actually thought: I ignored my god-given ability, never believing that someone from where I came from could make it out. The whole idea of "D'Evils” is that the narrator is no longer just expressing his ambition to live a full life- he’s been poisoned somehow, possessed with a desire for money, alienated from all that’s good, and focused on the underworld, here represented by Mafia references."
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