honest with you, we had a conversation, and we talked a couple of times after that, but then I started getting phone calls from Ty Ty, his little sidekick, instead of Jay-Z himself. And I do have a better relationship with Ty Ty. Jay recently said in an interview with XXL Magazine that he only knows me through a friend of a friend. That part I still don’t understand: where he knows me from a friend of a friend. But even if he did know me through a friend of a friend, and I don’t want to keep using this as a contradiction to what he says, but you know when we was in Maryland - it takes one situation that can change a person’s life for the better or for the worse. At the end of the day, he made a statement because that’s how he felt. Jay said he “never felt more alive then riding shot gun in Klein’s green Five, ‘til the cops pulled guns.” Now, at that point, that was the greatest feeling in his life. You admired me, you idolized me. Everything else, where you could just look at me from a distance and admire and take away from me, you did that. You can’t say that you know me from a friend of a friend and get away with that one. That one don’t even sound right. Jay don’t want nobody - like you got Jaz-O, you got other guys that’s close to Jay - that should be close to Jay, but Jay don’t want them close to him because they have too much. Jay took too much of them into him. When you look at Jaz you like, damn, Jay act so much like this dude. If Jay stands next to me, you’ll even say Jay kinda looks like me, we favor each other a lil bit. You might even stand him next somebody else and say damn there’s so many similarities. Jay doesn’t even know who he is. He lost his identity of being who he is. He was a good dude. You’d be surprised, Jay was once a good dude. I’m still shocked, still to this day. That would be the only thing that would bother me if I wasn’t sitting so good in my life. My life is good, I can’t complain. My bed is very big. So I’m good. Every time I talk to you, you sound happy. How come you’re not institutionalized? You’ve done long bids.
Because I didn’t allow myself to be in jail when was there. When I was in jail I refused to let the system make me hate my friends and I had refused to let the system make me hate other things around me. So I didn’t hate it the way a lot of other people probably did. I accepted where I was at. I knew that I did wrong in my life and I have a strong belief in God. And at the end of the day I accepted that although I didn’t cause the crime to a certain extent to get where I was at, I accepted it and told God, “Listen, if this is the punishment for what I’ve done in my life, thank you.” I was happy because I was like, “This is all you given me? Thank you.” I had deserved so much more. Even in the worst time of my life and what people would assume would be the worst time of my life, God still blessed me with such little time. Because at the worst, I was probably never supposed to be seen in the streets again. So now I’m here for a reason, there’s a purpose. I’m not out here to get in the way. I’m not lost in the new era because I studied while I was there. I stayed in tune with who Jay had become. I stayed in tune with who I saw Puffy become, and on down the line. Just like Michael Jordan, he came back at 45. He ain’t come back shootin’ the way he shot before. But he got comfortable in his game when he knew he couldn’t dunk no more. He had to take a different approach to the game and that’s exactly what I did. I took a different approach. I didn’t come to New York for almost a year. New York is a jungle. The streets is a jungle, I didn’t start moving around in the streets for almost a year. Come on, 13 years difference? I’m a different person. So are the streets. I came home with the mindset that I don’t owe the streets anything and the streets don’t owe me anything. I’m not in the way of the streets and I don’t want the streets to get in my way. Because the moment I make the exception in getting in the way of the streets, then that’s when I would resort mentally to being who I used to be. I mean, you couldn’t put the real Calvin Klein in the industry, they ain’t ready for that. So unfortunately, I had to water myself down to be accepted. If anything, at worst case scenario, I think I might have made a mistake doing that. You know, I just need to be who I am and whoever embraces that, embraces that and if not, then fuck ‘em. I got so much going on. I got the book deal going on, I got a movie situation going on you know I got a new company right now, I got a hotel booking agency that’s crazy. All I deal with is exclusive artists and elite people in the industry. It’s not even just the music industry. I deal with 5 star people. My service deal was nothing but like 5 star people doing like 100 rooms a month type shit. I’ve got a hell of a company that I just recently started and it’s doing extremely well. My goal is to just not become the old Calvin Klein. I don’t ever want to slip back into who I used to be. That’s the only thing in life I fear! ************************************************************
In our community, we focus on “keeping it real.” Authenticity is king. So how did Jay-Z, one of our most popular rap icons, make it to the King of Rap status, while turning a blind eye to a man whose street exploits were told and retold to help get him his position on the throne? I, personally, have issue with any person who doesn’t support friends who are locked down, but it especially resonates as ugly when that incarcerated man may be the basis of many stories that inspired songs that created an empire. In fairness, I did NOT get Jay-Z’s input, opinion, or side of the story in writing this story. After hearing similar stories over the years from Jaz-O, Dehaven, Biggs, and Damon Dash, I lost the stomach to speak with New York’s king of rap. OZONE Magazine, I’m sure, would be happy to publish any comments Mr. Carter deems worthy to make. I would also be happy to then interview Damon, Biggs, Jaz, and Dehaven afterwards. Klein will never go down in history as “the guy that Jay-Z jerked.” He has built a strong empire for himself in the travel industry, and now that he is putting shit out there, like-minded folks are attracting to him and bringing into fruition even more positive things for Klein. Jay-Z is merely just one small chapter that appears very early in the book that Calvin Klein calls the story of his life.
88 // OZONE MAG
Huge thanks goes out to my awesome assistant, Ace, for transcribing hours of taped conversations with Calvin Klein. Without her, this interview would not be what you see here! For the entire article, see: www.RealStreetLegends.com
Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008