Jay Z knows the way to make Roc Nation a success. (Matt Rourke / AP)

Business is business and whether it’s selling drugs or running a successful music label or representing sports stars, Jay Z has a formula.

And it’s one that has served him well.

“I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he tells Vanity Fair in the November issue. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life.

“At some point, you have to have an exit strategy because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”

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