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Not the most likely stage-mates, Jay-Z and David Letterman had an in-depth discussion about the iconic rapper's life on Letterman's Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, but their conversation was not all about hip-hop. The multi-nicknamed entertainer, whose real name is Shawn Carter, also spoke about his family life, and his mother's coming out as a lesbian. Expectedly, Jay-Z got emotional describing how he felt the moment she finally acknowledged it in front of him, and the pride and happiness for his mom were very apparent throughout.
As Jay-Z told David Letterman, the tear-jerking moment sent him back in the studio the next day, at which point he recorded the song "Smile" for his Grammy-nominated album 4:44. The audience gasped at the revelation that Carter's mom had only openly discussed her sexual orientation with him for the first time so recently. Of course, the rapper said he always knew it inside, but the fact that his mother finally felt comfortable enough to talk about it in front of him was an incredibly emotional moment that got him crying tears of joy. Which was a big deal, since Jay-Z apparently does not believe in crying when he's happy.
David Letterman has long been an amazing interviewer for his ability to draw personal stories out of celebrities like that, but he wouldn't be worth much if he didn't also discuss the subject that Jay-Z's biggest fans want to hear him speak about: rap and hip-hop. Letterman listened intently as Jay-Z explained some of the hallmarks that make a good rapper, and two key traits he thinks create a successful MC:
Like most artists at the top of their game, Jay-Z didn't waste breath talking about rappers he thinks are doing it wrong, but rather pointed out some positive strengths of rappers he's familiar with. He also kind of snubbed some of the younger MC's in his wake by only referencing older contemporaries like Snoop Dogg and Eminem, but perhaps he will indeed reference some fresher voices in the full episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. If not, Jay-Z may have just dropped the most subtle and non-melodic diss track of all time by snubbing the younger generation in describing what makes a good rapper. Beef!
David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is currently streaming on Netflix, with Jay-Z's episode dropping on Friday, April 7. For a look at other things coming to the platform, visit our Netflix premiere guide. For a more general listing of upcoming television shows, visit our midseason premiere guide and summer premiere guide.