In the years following his suicide, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain has become a legend, a purveyor of the grunge scene on American culture, and is often even quoted as the man who killed rock ‘n’ roll. Now Jay-Z has come out to say he believes Cobain actually stopped the hip-hop movement from making its mark, at least for a few years.
If you are wondering in what gem of a format Jay-Z got into that topic of conversation, the answer is Pharrell: The Places and Spaces I’ve Been, a title that features Pharrell Williams interviewing famous names like Jay-Z alongside other random names, including film composer Hans Zimmer and artist Takashi Murakami. CBS stations KROQ has a snippet from the coffee table book, which discusses how Jay-Z felt hip-hop had to take a step back after Cobain made his mark on the music scene.
“It was weird because hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know? Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out; when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, ‘We got to wait awhile.’”
Make no mistake, Jay-Z isn’t knocking on grunge music or Cobain’s impact. In fact, the rapper and produce seems almost in reverence of one man’s ability to change and dominate a cultural landscape.
I have always been a person who was curious about the music and when those forces come on the scene, they are inescapable. Can’t take your eyes off them, can’t stop listening to them. [Cobain] was one of those figures.”
While I appreciate that Jay-Z holds Cobain in high regard all these years later, I have a sneaking suspicion he is pretty happy with his own personal level of long and plentiful success. If I had to put money down, I’d say he doesn’t envy Cobain or the way he chose to go out to make an impact the least little bit.