The inimitable JAY-Z sat down with Elliott Wilson and B. Dot of the Rap Radar Podcast earlier this month for an extensive interview, which they broke into two parts. The second half of the interview has arrived and finds Hov opening up more about his family, specifically his mother Gloria Carter.
The Hip Hop mogul confessed he didn’t exactly have her blessing for the song “Smile,” the 4:44 track that divulges she’s a lesbian.
“We just had a beautiful conversation and it led to me making the song, and I didn’t have permission to make the song,” JAY admitted. “When she first heard then song, she was like, ‘Absolutely not,’ and I was like, ‘Man, this is so important.’ So many people in the world hiding and things like this and this will help you … That’s how we spoke about that song. I was just so happy at the person she become … It’s one of my proudest songs.”JAY also discussed how much he admires his mother, who he equates to the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
“It’s a beautiful story,” he said. “I was just so proud. I’ve always had love for my mother. I always looked up to her. Man, she’s so fu*king dope. My mom has been dope her whole life. She’s just a dope person. Listen to her, she sounds like Maya Angelou. Her pacing, her voice is just so regal. She’s a speaker. Our relationship developed to another level as I started getting to know myself.”
Elsewhere in the interview, JAY was asked about his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 15. Although he couldn’t be there (his wife Beyoncé had recently given birth to their twins), he wrote a speech about his admiration for the newer generation of rappers, including Tee Grizzley, and the respect he has for the pioneers that came before him.
“I believe him,” he said about Tee. “I hear his music and I’m like, ‘Man I believe his story,’ and I think that’s an element of creating that people don’t realize how difficult that is. You put words together, that’s fine — there’s a million trillion words out there. You can make up any story, but when someone resonates with you that’s hard to do.
“My acceptance speech had something to do with all the people that got us to that point,” he continued. “Rakim, man. ‘Constant elevation causes expansion.’ I live my life by that right now. Constant elevation causes expansion, so when you tight and say, ‘I only do this,’ you constrict yourself so nothing new can come in. This is what you do, this is what I eat — no matter how much money I have, I’m staying here. Life is about constant elevation causes expansion … He [Rakim] gave you the jewel of all jewels and then he just … ‘I write rhymes while I cool in my mansion.'”
Many might not realize what a monumental moment his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame truly was — he was the first MC to ever have that honor. JAY used his moment in the spotlight to educate the younger Hip Hop fans.
“When the person is writing that [Eric B. & Rakim’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’] and is not in the Songwriters Hall of Fame … it’s no knock on the Songwriters Hall of Fame, I’m just pointing out, ‘You might have missed this. You might have missed KRS One. You might have missed LL — you might have missed all these people … Big Daddy Kane. I just was happy. I was literally just happy. I was just happy for the culture.”