Jay Z's drug dealing partner says they had made $100,000 by the age of 17.
De-Haven Irby grew up in Brooklyn, New York City, in a rough crime-ridden housing estate alongside the rapper - real name, Shawn Carter - and although the pair were not academically astute they made their money by selling crack cocaine.
De-Haven, 44, told The Sun newspaper: ''I got into selling drugs at 14. Jay wasn't getting on with school and he used to come at weekends.
''Then he moved in with me and my aunt and uncle and I told him, 'What's mine is yours'. We made a lot of money. We were 17 and I'd have $100,000 (£62,700) stuffed under the mattress.''
The pair wanted to make money to escape the impoverished lifestyle they led and sold illegal substances to work their ''way up'' in life.
De-Haven explained: ''Thankfully, I never had to kill anyone. Although now I realise we were killing people slowly with the drugs. We just wanted money, clothes, jewellery, cars, a way up.''
De-Haven alleges his mother treated Jay like he was part of the family and sometimes feels angry that the hip-hop legend hasn't kept in touch with the people he grew up with.
He added: ''Does my mum not deserve a call on Mother's Day? This is the lady who I woke up at four in the morning saying, 'Mum, Jay's in trouble, we have got to get him out of jail.' He got caught with drugs in his pocket.
''When she went to go and get him she didn't say, 'That's my neighbour,' she said, 'I've come to get my son.' ''
Jay Z is now believed to be worth a combined $1 billion with his wife Beyonce, with whom he has a 22-month-old daughter Blue Ivy.