Rewind: Jay Z's Most Zen Moment in That NYT Interview


If there's one thing Hov knows, it's people. He's maneuvered his way out of Marcy to the Grammy stage he once publicly protested to hitting the awards show this year with an ethereal takeover -- 8 nominations.

He's also taken on the battle for clean water in Africa, gotten ownership with the Brooklyn Nets, and created three babies with Beyoncé.

So when he sat down with TheNew York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, his hair gruff like he's still in studio mode, it was obvi that something priceless was about to happen. And it did. The "conversation" went platinum in it's 35 minute incarnation, and spawned countless clips and responses.

This is something that needs to be played forever, like Reasonable Doubt.

The timing of it, especially given the current climate, is flawless in the forgiveness and compassion it requires to listen to the man who dared test Bey.

And listen we did, as Baquet went in pulling triggers speaking about 4:44. "This album sounds to me like a therapy session in a sense, have you been in therapy?"

"Yeah, yeah," Jay answers without a stutter. "...I grew so much from the experience, but I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and comes from somewhere, and just being aware of it, being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such an advantage."

[Cue Beyoncé screaming on "Family Feud": "Amen! Aaaameeeen!"]

"...It was a lot of fights in our neighborhood that started with, 'What are you looking at? Why you looking at me? You looking at me?'" Jay explains.

"And then you realize... Oh, you think I see you. You're in a space where you're hurting and you think I see you, and you don't want me to look at you, and you don't want me to see you in such a vulnerable -- you don't want me to see your pain. You don't -- so you put on this shell of this tough person that's really willing to fight me and possibly kill me 'cause I looked at you."

The breath he then releases is an exasperated, incredulous, half-laugh (unlike the typical Hov laugh with which we've all become familiar). And then you realize, it's not only in the 'hood that this happens. People everywhere are afraid to be seen, insecure as to whether or not the seer knows, "every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future," as Oscar Wilde once wrote.

Jay's recommendation for dealing with such threats: "Instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, 'Aw man, are you okay?'"

[Re]watch the whole interview (it's chock-full of diamonds). This particular section starts at the 12:18 mark.

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards airs tonight, January 28th at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the more recent Interwebs, Mr. Carter talks being a super dad, #MeToo, and superbugs on the debut of the Van Jones Show on CNN.


Photo by Mika Väisänen