One week after opening up about Kanye West, Solange, and Beyoncé in the first part of his Rap Radar interview, JAY-Z is sharing more insight.
Part 2 of the hour-long interview kicks off with Shawn Carter’s thoughts on more personal lyrics from 4:44. In particular, he explains how “Smile,” a song in which he reveals that his mother is a lesbian, came to be.
“I always looked up to her,” he said. “She’s so fucking 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 and her voice is just so regal. She’s a speaker. Our relationship developed into another level as I started getting into myself, wanting to know everything, and go somewhere else, to take it to a new level. We had a beautiful conversation that led to me making that song and I didn’t have permission to make that song. When she first heard the song, she was like, ‘Absolutely not.’ I was like, ‘This is so important. So many people in the world are hiding. This will help them.’ That’s all I’ll say about that. That’s how we spoke about that song. I was just so happy of the person she’s becoming. Live your life, be who you are. One of my proudest songs. I love that song.”
Keeping it all in the family, Young Hov also explained how his eldest child, Blue Ivy, recorded “Blue’s Freestyle,” a bonus track off 4:44.
“I had just finished ‘Family Feud’ and I really liked the beat for ‘We Family.’ I was like, ‘I think I can take that song up a notch.’ So, I started playing the beat and I was playing it for so long that I started doing something,” he said. “She went and she got the headphones and she climbed on a little stool and then she just started rapping. Well, she started doing that and the pockets she was catching, I was like, ‘Oh shit.’ I couldn’t believe that. I have it on my phone. Five minutes. That was all I put on there but five minutes of her doing that. Amazing pockets. But kept bringing back ‘Boom-shaka-laka.’ I was like, ‘Oh, she understands the concept of a hook!’ She’s five. She understands the concept of a hook…And then she caught that, ‘Never seen a ceiling in my whole life.’ I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on in here?’ One of the great memories.”
Blue wasn’t the only child that Jigga opened up about. The father of three also spoke about the significance behind his twins’ names. “Rumi is our favorite poet,” he explained. “So, that was for our daughter. Sir was just like, ‘Man. Come out the gate.’ He carries himself like that. He just came out like Sir.”
Beef also came up during the interview. In particular, Jigga was asked about his longstanding feud with the late Prodigy. “I sampled him for my first album so you know I was aware of him and had respect for him,” he said. “We spoke before he passed. I saw him in a club maybe five years ago or something like that. He came over and we just kicked it. It wasn’t about nothing. It’s sad. Blessings to his family. It’s sad. Young, young man.”
Speaking of rap feuds, Jigga said he no longer wants to be involved in back-and-forths, after a career in which he’s battled many other MCs. “Rap is just growing up,” he explained. “It’s still one of the youngest genres of music. Nobody knows what it’s gonna be yet. We haven’t seen this. We haven’t seen where a guy, 47 years old, puts out this sort of album. We haven’t seen that. This thing is small, young. It’s gonna grow. It’s gonna be wide, wonderful, and beautiful, people are gonna be able to coexist. The battle, that’s what it was built on, that’s where it started, so maybe we’ll move past that phase.”