Don't forget America this how you made me

from Jay Z – Picasso Baby Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Jay-Z is referring to his youth spent in the Marcy Projects, a “public housing complex”, (read “slum”) located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City.

Jay-Z grew up selling crack and cocaine in the aftermath of a CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine clusterfuck in which the United States, in a bid to fund Nicaruagan Contras would sell arms to Iran (illegally) and buy cocaine from the Nicaraguans, a political scandal now known as the Iran-Contra affair. A small side effect was that the cocaine made its way into black communities all over the country, sparking the 1980’s crack epidemic, discussed at length here.

Jay-Z himself spoke on his days selling drugs in his song “Blue Magic” off of his album, American Gangster album, rapping:

Blame Reagan for making me into a monster
Blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra
I ran contraband that they sponsored

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