Words matter. These are the best Jay-Z Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
As kids we didn’t complain about being poor; we talked about how rich we were going to be and made moves to get the lifestyle we aspired to by any means we could. And as soon as we had a little money, we were eager to show it.
I was an artist, I was executive producer on my first album, so I’ve always had to manage both. I couldn’t get a record deal. It wasn’t by choice – I couldn’t get a record deal, so I had to figure it out.
Primarily I see myself as so much more than a rapper. I really believe I am the voice for a lot of people who don’t have that microphone or who can’t rap.
I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?
I’m just going to make the music I love to make, and I’m going to mature with my music.
Everyone knows I’m married; I just don’t discuss it. Because it’s a part of my life that I’d rather keep private… When your whole life is played out in front of everybody, for your sanity, you need parts that are just yours.
Religion is like a personal computer. You let people in if you want to… We’re all gods.
I’m a mirror. If you’re cool with me, I’m cool with you, and the exchange starts. What you see is what you reflect. If you don’t like what you see, then you’ve done something. If I’m standoffish, that’s because you are.
I don’t know where streaming will go in the future. The analytics that we’re seeing tell us that streaming is the next thing, and downloads are going down. I feel like with the history of this platform, from vinyl to where we are now, it just seems like the next logical step.
I’ve always believed in good music over bad music. I believe in two sorts of musics. And the lines that separate us, I don’t believe in that. That’s for people who need to easily define what they’re hearing. Me, I’m cool with everything and anything I’m hearing that’s music. It comes under one definition for me.
No one came to our neighborhoods with stand-up jobs and showed us there’s a different way. Maybe, had I seen different role models, maybe I’d’ve turned on to that.
Everyone who makes music is a good collaborator at their foundation because in order to make music, you have to connect to it in a way that other people can’t.
I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that’s from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter.
My passion is music, you know, and music influences culture, influences lifestyle, which leads me to ‘Roc-A-Wear’. I was forced to be an entrepreneur, so that led me to be CEO of ‘Roc-A-Fella’ records, which lead to Def Jam.
I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.
Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That’s just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it… that’s excellence.
When Basquiat was hanging out with Madonna and Fab Five Freddy, and all those worlds were colliding, people have to realize hip-hop and the arts were like this ’cause we both were outcasts: we wasn’t allowed inside the galleries or inside Yankee Stadium. We were writing in the street and making music.
For me, being with Obama or having dinner with Bill Clinton… it’s crazy. It’s mind-blowing, because where I come from is just another world. We were just ignored by politicians – by America in general.
I was never a worker. And that’s not even being arrogant. I was just never a worker.
As an artist, you make music. And if you see people who don’t know how to market your music, you get involved in it. Otherwise, what you want to accomplish ‘gets lost in translation’ – no pun intended.
My first album didn’t come out until I was 26.
My mom always taught me – you know, little boys listen to their moms too much – that whatever you put into something is what you’re going to get out of it.
Around 20. I’d been trying to transition from the streets to the music business, but I would make demos and then quit for six months. And I started to realize that I couldn’t be successful until I let the street life go.
I remember the first time I saw the ‘Sugarhill Gang’ on Soul Train. I was 11 or 12. I was like, ‘What’s going on? How did those guys get on national TV?’ And then, when I was a little older, a rapper from the neighborhood got a record deal. I was shocked.
Successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who’ve never done anything because if you haven’t been successful, then you don’t know how it feels to lose it all.
I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip-hop community to build upon Def Jam’s fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era.
Music is everywhere – you consume it every day, everywhere you go. The content creator should be compensated. It’s only fair.
They say a midget standing on a giant’s shoulders can see much further than the giant. So I got the whole rap world on my shoulders, they trying to see further than I am.
That’s the reason why I’m making albums. That’s the reason why I love hip-hop: It’s a challenge every time.
Do you know how many athletes go broke three years after they stop playing? I want to help them hold on to their money. I mean, I know about budgets.
I’ll make a song with Rick Rubin, a song with Beyonce, a song with Lenny Kravitz. I just believe in making good music. I’m not trying to section myself off into just making hard-core rap music.
Rap for me is like making movies, telling stories, and getting the emotions of the songs through in just as deep a way.
I love what I do, and when you love what you do, you want to be the best at it.
The burden of poverty isn’t just that you don’t always have the things you need, it’s the feeling of being embarrassed every day of your life, and you’d do anything to lift that burden.
I think it’s very important for hip-hop, when an artist reaches a certain level, to ascend to executive work.
Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything, he should be left alone.
I was a really good student. In the sixth grade, I was reading at a twelfth grade reading level. But I got bored.
By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn’t need pen or paper – my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape.
My mom had early rap records, like Jimmy Spicer. In the middle of the records was a turntable and a receiver – I used to scratch records on it – and on top was a reel-to-reel. In front of that wall were more stacks of records. It was either Mom’s record or Pop’s record, and they had their names on each and every one.
What people have to understand is ‘Billboard’ is a magazine. They’re like elected officials – they work for us.
I don’t profess to be a political rapper, like groups such as ‘Dead Prez’ or ‘Public Enemy’, but I think social commentary should make its way into your music. Speaking on your neighbourhood is social commentary – what happens, what’s going on.
The experiences that I’ve had growing up with music, you know, I couldn’t trade them for any money in the world. Dancing in the living room to enjoy myself. ‘Enjoy Yourself,’ Michael Jackson.
I think the problem with people, as they start to mature, they say, ‘Rap is a young man’s game,’ and they keep trying to make young songs. But you don’t know the slang – it changes every day, and you’re just visiting. So you’re trying to be something you’re not, and the audience doesn’t buy into that.
Nothing me and Kanye can do musically was gonna match the event of what we were trying to do. So we were trying to deliver an album and experience at one time; that was the idea for ‘Watch The Throne’.
I think that’s what happened to the record business when ‘Napster’ came around. The industry rejected what was happening instead of accepting it as change.
Your job is to inspire people from your neighborhood to get out.
If I go into a studio and find my truth of the moment, there are a number of people in the world who can relate to what I’m saying and are going to buy into what I’m doing. Not because it’s the new thing of the moment, but because it’s genuine emotion. Its how I feel. This is how I articulate the world.
When you’re growing up, your dad is your superhero. Once you’ve let yourself fall that in love with someone, once you put him on such a high pedestal and he lets you down, you never want to experience that pain again.
I’ve said the election of Obama has made the hustler less relevant. People took it in a way that I was almost dismissing what I am. And I was like, ‘No, it’s a good thing!’
The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value.
Just strengthening that theme that America is a place of opportunity and hoping to inspire people to fulfill those opportunities, and to want more, and to want better, and to see the places we can go. So many people identify with me because of the place that I come from.
I listen to everything – from Sarah McLachlan and Alanis Morissette all the way down to rap like Scarface, UGK and Lauryn Hill.
I’m just saying the producers and people who work on music are getting left out – that’s when it starts getting criminal. It’s like you’re working hard, and you’re not receiving. In any other business, people would be standing before Congress. They have antitrust laws against this kind of behavior.