Jay-Z’s tell-all interview with Rap Radar in the spirit of his 4:44 album and lyricism has given fans further insight into the growth, legend, life and times of the New York rap mogul.
But as Hov delved deeper into the many inspirations behind the project, he reveals that there was one person who wasn’t always on board with his revelatory bars: his mother, Gloria Carter.
The track that rubbed Ms. Gloria the wrong way arrived at No. 3 on “Smile,” the album’s longest song. Early in the first verse, Hov reveals that his mother raised four children while struggling with her sexuality as a lesbian woman.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian,” Jay raps. “Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian/Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take.”
Hov said he played the track back for his mother following a “beautiful conversation” between the two, which was all the inspiration he needed to create the track. But, even though Ms. Gloria initially disproved of the line, Jay had a pretty good defense for it.
“When she first heard the song, she was like, ‘Absolutely not,’ ” he revealed. “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.”
Despite how Ms. Gloria feels now that the album and track have been released, Jay praised his mother for the woman she’s grown into. As for “Smile,” she’s also the reason the song is one of his proudest 4:44 moments as well.
“I was just so happy of the person she’s becoming,” he said of his mother. “Live your life, be who you are.”
Listen to the full part 2 of Hov’s Rap Radar discussion on 4:44 below.