I father, I Brooklyn Dodger them
I jack, I rob, I sin
Aww man, I'm Jackie Robinson
'Cept when I run base, I dodge the pen
Jackie Robinson was the Brooklyn Dodger player who broke the color barrier; “Dodger” means criminal — the “Artful Dodger” was Oliver Twist’s pickpocket mentor in Dickens' classic.
Hov mentions his criminal past by stating that he jacks, robs, and sins, thus making him Jackie Robinsin
Jackie Robinson’s high speed made him a great candidate to steal bases and get extra bases on his hits (“running base”)
Dope triple entendre
When Jay runs base (sells drugs like freebase cocaine), he dodges jail time (vs. Jackie dodging getting tagged out)
(homophone: base/bass) When Jay-Z raps along to the bass of the beat, he freestyles rather than writing raps beforehand (dodging the pen)
The pen Robinson isn’t dodging likely is the one that was used to sign lucrative baseball contracts. Because Jay runs base (sells drugs), he doesn’t have to sign any paperwork, as his work is illegal.
Fun fact: New Yorkers used to call anyone from Brooklyn “trolley dodgers” because of the numerous street-car lines that criss-crossed the borough. This is where the Brooklyn Dodgers got their name
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