Jay-Z Sentenced To Three Years’ Probation For Lance ‘Un’ Rivera Stabbing – Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Dec. 6, in hip-hop history...
2001: Following a legal battle that lasted two years almost to the day, Jay-Z was sentenced to three years' probation for the highly publicized stabbing of music executive and producer Lance "Un" Rivera.
Fresh off of a year full of accomplishments in the wake of the incredible commercial success that was his 1998 chart-topping album, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, which would eventually go on to win a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, Jigga man was flying high at the tail end of 1999. He was ready to release his next offering, Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter, a project that, by all accounts, sounded even better and was going to perform even better than its predecessor. Then, the album leaked and the bootlegging started.
At the time, rumors were swirling throughout the rap game that suggested that Untertainment record executive Lance "Un" Rivera, best known for his affiliation with The Notorious B.I.G., played a large part Jay's album getting leaked. Those rumors would all come to a head on the night of December 2, 1999, with a series of events that would put Hov's ascending career in serious jeopardy.
After performing at a listening party for the soon-to-be released Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter at Irving Plaza, police say that Jay-Z and other members of the Roc-A-Fella entourage made their way over to the Kit Kat Klub in Manhattan, where Q-Tip was holding a release party for his debut solo album, Amplified. At the party, Jigga and the Roc's entourage immediately confronted "Un," things got heated, bottles were broken and during the static, Rivera ended up being stabbed with a large blade. Jay left the Kit Kat Klub quickly, but according to the police report, witnesses identified the "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" MC as the assailant who committed the stabbing.
Within 24 hours of the stabbing, Jay-Z turned himself in to the NYPD for questioning, even though both he and his attorney both maintained his innocence. At that time, Hov was placed under arrest on felony assault charges. After the lengthy legal battle that followed, which saw multiple delays in the case and Jay facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the superstar pleaded guilty in October of 2001 despite previously releasing records like, "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "Guilty Until Proven Innocent," in which his lyrics alluded to his claims of being innocent.
Following the plea, another court hearing was set and on December 6, 2001, Jay-Z was sentenced to three years probation, which meant that the Roc-A-Fella boss was not allowed to leave New York without his probation officer's permission.
Many years later, 15 years since the sentencing and 17 years since the stabbing itself, former Roc-A-Fella artist Cam'ron sat down with DJ Whoo Kid and made claims that the reason for the assault was not the wide-spread bootlegging of Jay-Z's album after all. The Dipset MC said that the beef between Hov and Lance Rivera was actually the result of Jay's relationship with Charli Baltimore. "Jay liked Charli at one time, and that [used to be] Big's girl." Cam claimed in the interview. "They can say a song leaked or whatever, but it was over Charli Baltimore."
Regardless of the actual reason for the stabbing, Jay-Z's incredible career was not defined by the conviction, nor was he slowed down by it. In the many years that have followed, King Hova has etched himself into history as one of most iconic figures Hip-Hop has ever seen.
See Photos of Jay-Z's Different Looks Over the Years