Wasn't for the 'caine wouldn't be able
Here, Jay-Z references the biblical story of Cain and Abel while alluding to his days as a drug dealer. The cocaine that he dealt was the beginning of his current empire. If it wasn’t for the cocaine, he wouldn’t be able to have the life he has.
Possibly also a reference to an early incident in Jay’s life when he shot his older brother at age 12 during a dispute. In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain murders his brother.
An alternative interpretation would be that it wasn’t for the Kane (Big Daddy Kane) he wouldn’t be able to make it in the rap game, since Kane gave him the platform early on
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