There’s no way this interview should have flown under your radar. But just in case it did, we implore you to clear 60 minutes of your schedule at earliest convenience to watch this rollercoaster of a conversation between BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and Jay-Z. It left us wishing for more Zane’s in the music business and more Jay’s in pretty much every other business – politics chief among them.
More of a brotherly conversation than a shot-for-shot interview, Jay and Zane chat about everything from broken business models across a variety of industries to how fatherhood tears the cover off everything you’ve wanted to do in life by making it crystal clear. It’s inspirational, to say the least, while equally educating, humbling and endearing.
We’ve highlighted some of the interview’s more thought-provoking moments below; by no means treat this as an invitation to skip ahead at any point of the four-part series.
Magna Carta Holy Grail
9:52: “Everyone has to put egos aside for the sake of the project.”
11:55: “If we don’t make a record tonight, shame on us.”
13:10: “[Rap] is a competitive sport…When you’re self-aware, even when you’re dealing with someone’s ego, you allow their ego to live in its own space. The problem is when you engage that energy with your own ego.”
1:30: “This [opening track] is the centrepiece to my next album. That was my argument for four days.”
3:10: “I’m playing this dance with this fame and I know it’s like playing with a drug. It’s deadly. If it gets you, it pulls you in and takes you somewhere dark.”
6:30: “There are days where you just want to be normal and be human and go to the store, walk outside with your child and get ice cream.”
9:05 “We need to realize there are so many possibilities and nobody’s using them. There are so many ways to do things, and there’s still the same old way.”
10:00: “People are so unaccepting of change; it really boggles my mind.”
12:40: “Forget hip-hop, it’s good for music to have those souls (Kanye West) pushing it forward.”
Business and Politics
1:05: “I was looking at the model that exists currently and was like, ‘Ok, why aren’t all these things working together?’ I have a feeling it’s an accounting thing.”
2:30: “When you get their attention for that second (the general public), it better be good.”
3:35: “I’m doing great things…You can always strive to be great.”
6:18: “You have to take your craft seriously and work on it every day. Every single day.”
8:15: “[Pro sports agents] are fighting it (Jay-Z’s entry into the professional sports arena) because they have to work now.”
12:30: “Politics…is about everything but people.”
14:30: “The government’s too big, let’s shrink it…to the people who really care and want to get things done.”
2:00: “All the things you’ve been trying to do, it just happens. You just let go [on having a child].”
8:00: “That’s the easiest tour [with Beyonce].”
10:00: “When you’ve done something you really love for so long, it’s who you are. It’s difficult [to walk away].”
14:05: “What if you try that? What if you’re not crazy? What if it works? What if the way we’ve been doing things is wrong?”
We’ll let that last line sink in for inspiration.