Jay-Z on Obama, Kanye, and Herbie Hancock
Aside from having elevated Hip Hop to entirely new levels both on the Billboard Charts and culturally, Jay-Z is also a well spoken man who can offer intelligent insights on issues surrounding Hip Hop, Popular culture, and race.
In the February issue of Interview magazine, Jay discusses the now infamous VMA outburst, meeting the current and former Presidents of the United States of America, and the bias of awards show voters towards more traditionally established acts:
Barack Hussein Obama and Bill Clinton:
“It’s unbelievable because it’s so far away from where I come from. We were the kids who were ignored by every politician. We didn’t have the numbers, the vote, to put anybody in office, because no matter who was in the office, we didn’t think that it would affect change where we lived. So nobody went out and voted. 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 just think the timing of what [Kanye] did was wrong, and that, of course, overshadowed everything. He believed that ‘Single Ladies’ [by Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé] was a better video. I believed that. I think a lot of people believed that. You can’t give someone Video of the Year if they don’t win Best Female Video. I thought Best Female Video was something you won on the way to Video of the Year. But, hey, I guess it wasn’t—and that’s a whole other conversation about awards shows and artists.”
“You can’t have the woman who wins Video of the Year not win Best Female Video. I mean, Herbie Hancock is great, but you can’t have him beat the Kanye album that year. I mean, come on, seriously. That can’t happen. That just lets me know that the people who get to pick these ballots just check the only name they know. I think that’s what’s happening with rap music now.”