Stop what you're doing and watch JAY-Z storm the Live Lounge
Stop what you're doing because your prayers have well and truly been answered: JAY-Z IS IN THE LIVE LOUNGE!
It's a lot to process, right? Having the biggest rapper in the world join our already mind-blowing line-up for this year's Live Lounge Month. But we figured we'd celebrate fifty years of Radio 1 bringing major tunes to your airwaves in a big way, and who's bigger than Hov?
So, without further ado, prepare to have your 99 problems well and truly quashed because what problem can't be solved with a JAY-Z Live Lounge? None? Our thoughts exactly...
First up, let's gather some stats...
Hova has sold over 100 million records worldwide. (No, your eyes do not deceive you. One hundred million!) He's been nominated for 162 awards over the course of his epic career, including BET Awards, BMA's, BRIT Awards and Tony Awards. He's the owner of 21 Grammy Awards (and, presumably, some really sturdy shelving units). And he's got an estimated net worth of $810 million (about £598 million to us Brits).
The truth is that it's my passion, it's what I love to do, make music and perform and travel, so it's who I am. It's not even a choice for me. It's just who I amJAY-Z
All of which begs the question, why carry on when you've already conquered, well, everything?
"I ask myself that all the time," Jay told Clara. "I asked myself that this morning because, y'know, I've been home and [I've got] new twins and just been in that space, so I had to leave and come over here on a plane and I'm like 'what am I doing?! why am I doing this?' and I just love it. The truth is that it's my passion, it's what I love to do, make music and perform and travel, so it's who I am. It's not even a choice for me. It's just who I am."
Understood loud and clear. TBH, we don't want Jay to go anywhere. But, as far as records go, how do you even begin to build upon stratospheric success? Do the ideas just keep on coming?
"I've always tried to push the envelope as an artist and make new things and try to make something that's an elevated version of what I've done. I have to be happy with it before I let it go."
Watch JAY-Z perform Family Feud
Revelatory. Vulnerable. Apologetic. All words that have been attributed to JAY-Z's 13th studio album, 4:44.
I'm proud of this song because it happens on so many levels that it also speaks to the cultureJAY-Z
The internet went into somewhat of a frenzied state when the album dropped at the end of June, scouring the tracks for Jay's rebuttal to the infidelity rumours and relationship troubles that Bey famously alluded to on Lemonade. Was Family Feud that track? Not totally...
"That was the last song I created. It may have been two days before the album came out. I was in the house, in the basement, just listening to the album and trying to add to it, and created that song. It was just a song about that family structure and what's better than one billionaire? Two is. It's just basically the structure of you and your spouse, whomever you married to, and how you guys are stronger as a unit and bigging each other up and propping each other up.
"I'm proud of this song because it happens on so many levels that it also speaks to the culture. Like us, working together and how when we're working together we're more powerful.
"We have this thing in hip hop where the older generation [are] against the younger guys and it's like c'mon man, that's so divisive and we're not really moving forward and we're not gonna have power that way."
"I put [this record] out because it's really therapeutic for myself to get to a space where I'm not hiding behind anything and it's just really no mask, that whole image thing, and really speak my truth. It's really an extension of what I've been doing."
But what would the JAY-Z of 1996 make of the JAY-Z of 2017?
A lot can happen in 21 years but Hova is pretty convinced that the one factor tying his extensive back-catalogue together is an element of wisdom...
You almost feel like you shouldn't be hearing it, you start looking around like 'should I be hearing this stuff he's saying?'JAY-Z
"Even in '96 you'll hear 'chains is cool to cop but more important is lawyer fees'. I still had that sort of wisdom and it's all sprinkled throughout the career, it just hasn't been that concentrated on an entire project. It's just a different version of myself. I [was] still ahead of my time in that space. With every project I try to push forward so it's not that different, it's just the entire project is just here, mask off, here's everything. You almost feel like you shouldn't be hearing it, you start looking around like 'should I be hearing this stuff he's saying?'
"You know you get to a point in your life where you really focus on what's important. We can't afford any mistakes at this point, you know what I'm saying? You really focus on what's important to you and people you love and that's what really brings me genuine happiness. Being around my family friends, things that really genuinely bring me joy."
Watch JAY-Z perform Numb / Encore
"That felt really special to me. That's the first time I performed that song after Chester passed away which was super tragic. I really think that hopefully his death serves as a wake up call. Mental health is a real thing. You never know what people are going through... Money or fame doesn't mean anything if you're not happy inside and a lot of people we go and we don't deal with what's happening to us, you just keep going, especially if you're a performer like that."
"You just start numbing yourself. You just become numb. He's singing it. You just go and get bigger audiences and things like that and you move further away from yourself.
"Men, we have to have this bravado and armour up and be this kind of way and it's like nah, you have to take care of yourself. Physically and spiritually."
And, finally, what does a busy guy like JAY-Z do in his downtime?
Funny you should ask that because Clara got the scoop. Spoiler alert: Games of Thrones is involved.
"Game of Thrones. I'm getting into that. I feel bad, I feel guilty because I stole a little episode that they put it out - they leaked an episode - but I was coming on the plane so I think I deserve that. I was flying on a plane, I watched an episode - what do you want me to do?! People bootleg my album! I'll watch Sunday and give them a little bit of the ratings thing. I'm not gonna do them like that but I watched it...
"Music. Food. A lot of music and food and family and laughs. That's pretty much it. It's super simple. It's great places, great aesthetic backgrounds and just family, friends, music and a lot of food."
But does Jay cook? Short answer: no.
"I could if I wanted to. That's the gig. Don't let nobody know that."
Full of wisdom right 'til the very end.