A 1993 shooting left Carey paralyzed. Jay was killed. The two had just been offered a contract with Atlantic Records, but after the attack, the record company backed off. In his wheelchair, Carey returned to the same “good/bad” life he had as a child. He sold drugs and produced music. The glimpse he gives of drug dealing rings truer than any I’ve read. “[A] lot of movies. . . make it sound really dangerous, exciting and glamorous . . . but for the most part, it’s just another job. . . . [A]nd it can get crazy boring.” Images show his alarm clock at 5:46 a.m., then Carey packaging the drugs.

“Sentences” is a cautionary tale. However, aside from Carey’s lyrical honesty (which is miles above most confessional literature), what makes the book stand out is that it’s about playing both sides of the track, which Carey did and which is a far more common, far more human way to go. He fully understood both choices and shows us the reality of both. Carey wanted to be the bad boy and the great artist. The two worlds imploded, but the man survived. *
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