The greatest moment of my life that I don't remember.

Written by James Harris (@Dr_TacoMD)

At some point in the spring of 2011, a few months before Watch the Throne took over the world, I picked up a call from a blocked number and it was Jay Z. He said, "James. Yo, it's Jay." 

Normally I don't pick up calls from blocked numbers. For some reason, this time I did, and the man on the other line was so famous that he didn't even have to say the second syllable/letter of his adopted nom de guerre to announce himself. 

Me, being a lowly mortal who had just heard someone tell me they're a letter of the alphabet, the first thing I said to one of the greatest musical artists of all time was, "I'm sorry, what?"

"Jay. Jay Z."

At this point, I lurched out of my chair and took two bounding steps out of the room, immediately knowing that this phone call was about to change everything. It really did only take two bounds to exit. The tiny, dank space where I sat at the PR agency where I was interning was called the "intern closet." That's because it was, before we started working in there, a closet. (I went to visit recently, it's back to being a closet again.)

I don't remember exactly what I said next, but I just remember fighting the urge to call him "Mr. Z." Whatever the garbled words that spewed out of my mouth were, he deemed them worthy enough to grant me the reason for his call.

"I'm looking for an assistant, and your name and resume landed on my desk."

I thought of how beautiful that desk must be, and how I'd never be able to afford such a desk. 

But all thoughts of opulent furniture design paused for a moment, and this surreal call started to make a tiny bit more sense. I remembered that a few months prior, a friend had been at a dinner party with a friend of Solange Knowles. After getting to know each other, Solange's friend told my friend that both Beyonce and Jay Z (aka Jay) were looking for new assistants. All Jay Z required in a prospective candidate was that he or she was a fan of hip-hop. Somehow, my threadbare resume had climbed through the proper channels and had landed on the Italian marble and Brazilian rosewood of Jay Z's desk.

 

Me, being a lowly mortal who had just heard someone tell me they're a letter of the alphabet, the first thing I said to one of the greatest musical artists of all time was, "I'm sorry, what?"

 

The most successful rapper of all time and I chatted for a few minutes, and I blacked it all out. Don't remember what he said, don't remember what I said. At the end, he said that when he got back to NYC I would come in to his office and we'd chop it up. Important distinction: Jay Z doesn't make suggestions—he tells you what you will be doing, and we're all okay with that.

After he hung up, I sprint-walked towards Lawrence, a full-time employee and friend at the agency (and a current colleague of mine.) He later told me that "you looked like you had just emerged from your mother's womb, as if you seeing the world for the first time. Your face was impossibly blank, but I could tell your brain was moving at a million miles per hour. We tried to recap what had just happened, except you couldn't recall anything specifically—a blackout for the ages."

I sauntered back to the intern closet, figuring that it was only a matter of days before I'd be leaving this pedestrian existance for a life of snoozing on private jets, schmoozing with oil barons, dripping with all the luxury and incredible sex that automatically comes to you when you're Jay Z's assistant. 

Sadly, I never did get the call back to "chop it up." But I did eventually make it out of that intern closet. If anything, the call and acknowledgement from hip-hop's king was incredibly well-timed. I was interning for no money three days a week, baby-sitting two days a week for a "lovably" precocious child, and getting rejected from jobs every single day. A brief chat with someone who came from so much less and achieved so much more put everything in its proper light, and having Jay Z reach out to receive me as audience was an immediate injection of hope and inspiration that maybe I could make it somewhere. 

Seen that way, that phone call was probably a catalyst to me ending up at Complex—a place where talking to the likes of Jay Z on the phone is considered slightly less of a once-in-a-lifetime miracle. Also, in hindsight, I don't know that accepting the job, if he had ever called back to offer it, would have been the right move. After all, if you aspire to be the greatest, will you ever be in a position to claim the throne if you're operating in the shadow of the current king? I don't know, but I'm glad that Jay Z calling my phone had just the effect that did. Nothing more, nothing less. 

JUST KIDDING JAY Z CALL ME EMAIL ME SEND ME A FUCKIN' LETTER OR ANYTHING I'M MAD NICE AT SCHEDULING G6 FLIGHTS AND I'LL MERK ANY BLOGGER WHO SHITS ON YOUR BARNEYS COLLABORATION STARTING WITH THE GUYS AT FOUR PINS IF RICK RUBIN COMES THROUGH AND THERE'S NO SOFA I'LL GET ON MY HANDS AND KNEES AND HE CAN LOUNGE ON ME PAUSE YO I'LL FUCKIN' SCRAPE OFF BOTH THE METAPHORICAL AND ACTUAL BARNACLES AND ALGAE FROM THE HULL OF YOUR METAPHORICAL AND ACTUAL YACHT(S)!!!!!

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