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The line "H to the Izz-O, V to the Izz-A" is a slang method of spelling out H.O.V.A. It was a trizzend in the rizzap community to put "izz" in words.
"Hova" refers to what Jay-Z calls his "God Name," which is "Jay-Hova," as in Jehovah.
Jay-Z raps about himself throughout the song. It is a short summary of his life, including how he sold crack in Brooklyn and showed his entrepreneurial streak by going to Virginia and Maryland to peddle drugs there for a bigger profit. Proceeds from drug dealing allowed him to finance his first album and start Roc-A-Fella Records.
In this, Jay-Z says he is "Not Guilty," referring to an incident in December, 1999 where he was accused of stabbing a record producer at a New York City nightclub. After this came out, he was found guilty and sentenced to probation.
This samples "I Want You Back
" by The Jackson 5. It was produced by a pre-famous Kanye West, who does a lot of sampling on his tracks. West also produced Jay-Z's "Takeover," which sampled The Doors' "Five To One," and Twista's "Slow Jamz," which samples Luther Vandross' "A House Is Not A Home."
The coach of the Michigan State basketball team is named Tom Izzo. His players would sing this to him to drive him nuts.
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