Daily Archives: December 15, 2007

Jay-Z Talks To Michael Gonzales


On October 2nd, I met with Jay-Z to discuss life, hip-hop and American Gangster for the cover of the second-annual 20 Interviews issue of STOP SMILING magazine. Below are excerpts from that interview.


SS: Black people love Italian gangster movies, but many of these films are blatant in their racism. One of the very first words Jack Nicholson says in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is ‘niggers.’ Why are people willing to overlook this?

JZ: There are certain things the audience hooks on to. Yes, the character might be racist, but he’s still against the odds as he struggles against the world. However brief his rein might be, he’s living the good life and that’s what Black kids hone in on. They don’t pay attention to the racism, because racism is everywhere. We’ve learned to look past that.

SS: What about the word using the word ‘nigger’ in rhymes?

JZ: For me, it’s all about the intention. I could call you an ‘apple tree,’ but if I say it with venom and hate, that is what it’s about. It’s not the word that has the power, it’s the person. All of this came about because the Imus discussion turned into a hip-hop discussion.read more


Jay-Z Talks To Billboard


Ringing in the holidays on a sleigh full of Grammy nominations (26 for Def Jam overall and five of his own, including best rap album for “Kingdom Come” and song/record of the year for his featured role on Rihanna’s “Umbrella”), Def Jam president Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has more than music on his mind.

He’s set to open his third 40/40 Club in Las Vegas (Dec. 30) and recently invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels. Billboard.com caught up with an ebullient — and frank — Jay-Z, who addressed those deafening rumors about his executive future at Def Jam and what else 2008 holds for him.

So, 26 Grammy nominations; that’s not too shabby. Were you surprised?

Yes, I was. But we definitely put the work in and it’s great to be recognized for it. And “Umbrella”‘s nominations for song and record of the year were fantastic. Rihanna came out of the gate with huge records; our whole thing was to make sure she didn’t get buried under those records and become the “‘Pon the Replay” girl. So to see her come full circle and get her Grammy nods was an incredibly rewarding feeling.read more