Thinking back when we first learned to use rubbers
He never learned so in turn I'm kidnapping his baby's mother
In Decoded, Jay-Z’s book breaking down his rap lyrics, Jay singled out this couplet as one of his favorite lines from his work
Jay reminisces about an earlier, more innocent age when he and his friend were first learning to use condoms, and then connects it back to his current predicament. Since his friend never actually got the lesson and never used condoms, he impregnated a woman. Now Jay-Z is kidnapping that woman to gather information on his old friend’s whereabouts. This plays on the theme of the impossibility of innocence in the ghetto — having a kid, rather than being a joy, is a vulnerability.
Jay-Z in Decoded explains this line saying,
“Here’s where the song takes a sudden turn from a general analysis and reminiscences to a clear narrative. I tried to convey a lot of information in one line: that we were friends so close that we learned basic sex ed at the same time; that he ‘never learned’, which sets him up as someone sloppier, less calculating and cunning than me; that he had a child as a result, and "a baby’s mother”; and that I kidnapped her, which shows how profoundly “blackhearted” I had become, violently exploiting any opening — even the innocent mother of his child. The line goes from the innocence of two dumb kids learning to use condoms together, bypasses any happiness or joy about the birth of a child, and ends in a truly dark place. It’s the poison of “D'Evils” sketched out in a few words."
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