Hip-hop icon Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but spent part of his teenaged years in East Trenton, New Jersey, where he attended Trenton Central High School. He did not graduate. It was also where another student, Gil De Haven, introduced him to drug dealing and encouraged his rap career. In his 2001 song, “The Blueprint (Mamma Loved Me)” he mentioned his time in Trenton:

“Gil introduced me to the game that changed my life up

East Trenton grew me, had me skipping school…”

In a 2009 interview, DeHaven talks about a rap battle between Jay-Z and Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers:

I went back and got Jay-Z for a battle with Wise Intelligent, and that was one of the greatest battles I’d ever seen. Jay had complications with it – but he won it though. Jay came out of it and said, “That boy [Wise Intelligent] right there is gonna’ be something.” Sho’ nuff, they ended up with at least [four albums] and getting major music industry,and Hip Hop culture respect.