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Jay-Z Cops Plea

Rapper pleads guilty to assault charge in 1999 stabbing

October 17, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Rapper Jay-Z (a.k.a. Shawn Carter) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge yesterday for stabbing record producer Lance "Un" Rivera nearly two years ago.

Carter was hit with two charges of first-degree assault after he was accused of stabbing Rivera at a party for fellow rapper Q-Tip in December, 1999 at New York City's Kit Kat Club. He initially pleaded not guilty, which could have landed him a fifteen-year prison sentence, if convicted. Because of the altered plea, prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of three years probation. Carter will be formally sentenced on December 6th.

In an unrelated court date, Carter was cleared on October 16th of weapons possession charges stemming from an April 13th incident in which a firearm was found in a car carrying Carter and some friends. Chauffeur Hamza Hewitt pleaded guilty to third-degree weapons possession charges and received a one-year prison sentence.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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