Jay Z was on the Howard Stern Show this morning talking about his new, arty book. "I collect art ... I got into art recently about 3 or 4 years ago ... I got a couple (of Warhols)," said Jay Z. Apparently the famous rapper had the Warhol Rorschach over his fire place in his living room. I'm fairly sure no one ever opened an interview with jay Z on his art collection. Such is the genius of Howard Stern as an interviewer. It was a rather remarkable interview.
Stern is very good about drawing interesting information from his subjects. People -- at least I am -- are fascinated by Jay Z's rise, and how he spends his wealth. The Andy Warhol Estate apparently cleared the Rorschach cover image for Jay Z's book in a day. Howard and Jay Z talked a bit about the art world -- "where do you go to buy art?" -- and whether or not he ever feels "hustled" by the art world. "I have everything from an Warhol to a Tim Noble to a Sue (Webster)" Jay Z also said that he owned a David Hammond painting because it had huge bricks at the bottom that reminded him of the Marcy Projects.
They talked about Oprah and Jay Z's first meeting. Howard Stern: When you go into a situation like that does that make you nervous?" Jay Z: "No, I wasn't nervous. We come up in deifferent eras ... She cam eup in the Ciil Rights era ... our generation turned it around." Um ...
Howard Stern disagreed on what the top record of all time was (Jay Z thinks it is "Thriller," Howard Stern thinks it is "Sgt pepper's Lonely Hearts Band.") It was an interesting moment that illustrates the difference between their backgrounds (and generations).
They spoke about Jay Z as a crack dealer, and, at one point, shooting his brother in the shoulder. Apparently, a lot of that period of his life involved the breakup of his parents marriage in the Marcy projects. "Our house was crowded, up until that point we had the fun house ... I didn't realize it but probably looking back at it (I was)." Very interesting that a rapper as guarded at Jay Z opened up to the degree that he did about his psychological history.
Jay Z's father was stabbed and his brother was killed at one point in the projects and went out nightly to get revenge on the person who did it, precipitating the end of his marriage. His mother tried to get him to forget the event, focus on his family -- to no avail. "He never was the same after that ... I just know he left," said Jay Z. They ultimately reconciled: "My mom actually made it happen." The first meeting he didn't show up. "Talk about abandonment," said Howard Stern. "yeah," replied Jay Z.
"We set up the first meeting, he didn't come ... I pretty much built up a wall to that sort of emotion ... which was not healthy," said Jay Z. At that point Jay Z was wealthy beyond imagination. "It showed (the money) didn't affect him ... which made me respect him, oddly." After they met, finally, Jay Z's father died of liver problems a month later.
"Your father, growing up, he's like Superman to you ... so you never let anyone else get that close to you," said Jay Z, who admitted he has never been into therapy. Howard Stern, who has been in therapy several times a week for years, suggested Jay Z see one. Jay Z claimed his music is his therapy. "You think that's really therapy," said Stern. "I find it very hard to self analyze," said Howard. "I need to go in to the therapist." Jay Z was not biting.
They got into the second meeting with Jay Z's father. "He's a stubborn man ... I was a child ... I shouldn't hae to go find my father," said Stern. "He passed a month later," said Jay Z. " he knew he was sck and he still chose to drink."
They talk about the nature of hustling. "A hustler is anybody who has the drive to make something happen for themselves,' said Jay Z, who went on to describe the school system as shot:
Howard Stern: Are you a great crack dealer?"He showed us a different way to be successful," he said about Russell Simmons, his inspiration. More:
Jay Z: I was incredible ... at the end of the day when you add up the hours ... you are standing out there all day long.
Jay Z: I'm pushing our culture forward by being here right now ..the only way I've "lost touch" is that I don't sit at the bench at Marcy projects .. I have no need to.Jay Z said he would not quit music yet because he has "expensive tastes." He has 12,000 square feet in tribeca and a couple more apartments. He wouldn't mind moving to Monaco "the taxes would maybe make up for the fact that I'm not in America."
"Right before (Obama) ran" he had conversations. Reggie Love, Obama's "body man" initiated contact between the rapper and the then Senator. "We pretty much talked about normal things, we talked about music, about language in music ... again i come in as myself." Howard Stern: Do you think he wanted your endorsement? Jay Z: "Yeah, I think as a community organizer he wants to keep in touch with the community." Since then Jay Z has been to the White House several times.