Nine to five is how to survive, I ain't trying to survive
I'm tryna live it to the limit and love it a lot
I’d rather die enormous than live dormant,
That’s how we on it
Jay is saying that getting a job (or other mainstream means of making ends meet) is safe and he could do that and survive, but he doesn’t want to just survive. He is willing to put his life on the line to get the most out of his life that he can. Go big or go home!
Jay-Z in Decoded explains this line saying,
“The first defence of a lot of people who take the criminal route is that they had no choice, which is almost true. Most of us had choices, but the choices were bleak. The street life was tough and morally compromised and sometimes ugly, but a dead-end nine-to-five job at permanent entry level wasn’t all that attractive, either. The righteous seed in a hustler’s mentality was this: He wanted something more for himself.”
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