That same dude you gave nothing, I made something doing
Jigga feels he was disadvantaged from the beginning, and unassisted by any authoritative power. Against the odds, and with no help, he has still risen
Additionally, the next line, “What I do, through and through” should be read as a continuation of the last part of this line, so that if it were prose, it would be:
I made something [of myself, of hip-hop] doing what I do through and through.
The prose version emphasizes the value Jay-Z places on artistic integrity, which is something he repeatedly talks about in his music and his book. It also sets up a syncopated and prosaic flow of enjambment to give the verse a feeling prosaic sentences instead of lines (e.g. “The block where they / pop toasters”).
If he’s going to do art, he’s going to do it “through and through,” his own way; as he says, “the secret of long-term success is the freedom just to be yourself,” and no one gave him that freedom. He took it.
The flow in the actual version is great because it emphasizes “doing” — (“B.I.G. I did it!”). In DECODED, Jay-Z repeatedly talks about how much he respects “doing” — work ethic (“Honor Among Predators,” etc.).
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