How One Of Jay Z’s Forgotten Songs Helped His Best Friend Survive Prison

Managing Hip-Hop Editor
02.10.17

Emory Jones is one of Jay Z’s very rare day ones who’s been with Hov since long before the music started. Unfortunately, he spent 16 years in prison and missed out on truly taking part in Jay’s rise to stardom and success, however he still managed to share in the joy in other ways.

While on The Breakfast Club on Friday, the man known as “Vegas Jones” and the creative mind the Roc’s paper plane logo explained how Jay Z called to get his approval for “Do U Wanna Ride,” the Kingdom Come song based around their friendship. The Kanye West-produced track is rarely mentioned in conversations about the rapper’s best songs in his catalog, but it should be because “Do U Wanna Ride” is one of those cuts where the usually guarded Hov lets listeners into his world and examines the relationship he shares with one of his oldest, closest friends. And, for anyone who has a loved one behind bars, the collect call recording instructing the person accepting the call to hit five is just one of those things that’s understood. Hitting that button to accept is an act of love and, in many ways, it’s the only way to stay connected to someone spending time behind bars.

“When Jay did the John Legend song, he was like ‘Yo I wanna do this song,'” Jones says around the 17:00 mark. “The first thing I told him was ‘We don’t need a song to solidify who we are. We know who we are for each other.’”

He continues, “He gave it to me and I was like ‘F*ck!’ I’m in jail and it was just like a tear-jerker because he wanted to show how much he appreciated me the same way I appreciate him.”

When Jones ended up switching prisons, the song become a blessing of its own because it let other prisoners and even the guards know exactly who he was. “The guards used to always try to befriend me. One day one of them pulled me in the office and played the song for me. To me, that got me through that last three years or two years..I’m like ‘I’m good now.’”

“That’s the beautiful thing of the music,” Jones says. “Jay’s music got me through.”

The whole interview is a good watch as Jones speaks on his current role in the Roc, his new ‘Bet on Yourself’ capsule collection with Puma, his well known ‘word of the day’ posts on Instagram and much more. Watch it above.

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