I had near brushes, not to mention
Three shots close range, never touched me: divine intervention

from Jay Z – Dead Presidents II Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Jay talks in his interview with Oprah about how he 3 gun shots at close range miraculously missed during his drug-dealing days

50 Cent, on the other hand, got shot 3 times; he “took it and smiled”

Q: Which do YOU think is more thug?

A:

“y'all respect the one that got shot. I respect the shooter."
– Jay-Z on “30 something”

“Niggas done shot at me, shivering. They were so scared, they didn’t hit me once” — Jay-Z on “Stop”

Pulp Fiction reference! In said film, a guy unloaded his gun from close range on Jules Winnifield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) without hitting either of them. The aftermath was full of conversation about “one charming motherfucking pig”, leaving the underworld in favor of “walking the Earth” and their survival being down to “divine intervention”. Like Jules, Jay has probably looked at his life and wondered often how he isn’t dead yet, considering the peril he has faced. Must be divine intervention.

Relevant lines from Oprah interview

Oprah: This is where we differ. This is where we differ. Because I’d be very scared! Weren’t you shot at three times—within six feet—and you lived to talk about it?

Oprah: What happened in each situation?

Oprah: So he was a bad shot.

Oprah: Getting shot like that would be a wake-up call for the average guy. But you continued in the drug world.

Oprah: Did you go home and get a gun?

Oprah: This is also where we differ! I don’t shoot at my friends. Did you ever make up with him?

Jay-Z: You can’t. You can agree not to shoot at each other, but you can’t be friends after that—unless the guy is your brother.

**Jay also described this incident earlier in a 1998 Vibe magazine interview with Dream Hampton:

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