Landing an interview with Jay-Z is no easy feat, but when your name is Gayle King it can be a bit easier to do so as her name holds the kind of weight that Jay-Z used to a move a lifetime ago.
Getting the exclusive with arguably the greatest rapper of all time, Gayle King and Jay-Z linked up at the Brooklyn Public Library where they toured his lifework and got into different aspects of his accomplishments and what they mean to him today.
From explaining where the diamond hand sign that became synonymous with Roc-A-Fella Records to revealing why he and Beyoncé named their daughter Blue Ivy, Jay-Z opens up about various topics and shows us how a lot of his life’s work is much deeper than rap.
Take a look at the full interview below and check out the eight things we learned from Jay-Z on CBS Mornings.
The hands displayed at The Book of Hov exhibit are actually Jay-Z’s hands
Jay-Z did the impression for the eventual mold. Interestingly enough, he didn’t know what he was doing it for. He says the team simply asked him to do it, so he did without questioning it. As for why he and his Roc-A-Fella team began throwing up the diamond sign, Jay-Z says it came from their belief that their R&B group Christión would sell 10 million records and go diamond. So they would throw up the diamond sign in support of Christión. They did not go diamond or even platinum, but that diamond sign itself definitely blew up.
No labels wanted to sign him and put out Reasonable Doubt.
Although no labels wanted to sign him and put out Reasonable Doubt, he’s glad they didn’t simply because it allowed him to be more free with the album and create and explore in a way that a major label wouldn’t have let him. He’s absolutely right. It also doesn’t hurt that he was basically banking most of the money that came with that album.
The first song he made for In My Lifetime Vol. 1 was “Streets Is Watching.”
Jay-Z remembers that the first song he made for In My Lifetime Vol. 1 was “Streets Is Watching,” which would in turn be the last song he ever played for The Notorious B.I.G. After letting Biggie hear the cut he says Big asked him to play it over a few times before asking him “The whole album gonna sound like this?” Hov felt that was Big’s astonishment at his continued growth as an artist. RIP B.I.G.
He’ll never sell his masters.
While artists selling their masters has become a common practice these days, Hov says he’ll never sell his masters, mostly due to the fact that he had to fight to get them back. Though he started independently after signing with Def Jam things changed, and once he became president of the company he only did so with the agreement that his masters would be returned to him. Now that he has full control of them he’s not selling them for any amount of money. It’s easy to make that kind of decision when you’re a billionaire. That being said, he does say if his children decide to sell them then that’s up to them.
He gets the most satisfaction from giving back.
Though he’s a billionaire superstar who can just fade to black, live his best life and forget about everything that’s going on in the world, the rapper is taking a different approach and looking to help where he can. After making music for all these decades, Jay-Z says these days he gets the most satisfaction from “being a beacon and helping out my culture, people of color.”
Everyone wasn’t feeling him headlining the 2008 Glastonbury festival.
Jay-Z confirms that his performance at Glastonbury back in 2008 was frowned upon by rock ‘n’ roll old timers. Knowing that he wasn’t welcome there, Jay-Z was going to back out of doing the festival. But it was Chris Martin of Cold Play who convinced him to do the show and thus, history was made. They probably still mad, but you can’t change the past, b.
Blue Ivy was originally going to be named Brooklyn.
Speaking on naming his daughter Blue Ivy, the mogul says she was originally going to be named “Brooklyn,” but after getting the sonogram of her they began calling her “Blueberry.” After calling her a “little blueberry” for nine months, the nickname stuck and Blue Ivy Carter was born.
He may consider getting rid of his dreadlocks.
While he’s now known for his signature dreadlocks, Jay-Z says his favorite cut was the Caesar and that he was actually going to revert back to that hairstyle. Once he told his family of his plan he says they put up a fight, and Blue talked him out of getting the OG New York haircut in 2023. The option is still on the table for the father of three so don’t be surprised if he steps out looking like he just came out of 1999.
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