Howard came back and said that Jay-Z was there. He said he’s been reading his book and he has a fascinating life. Jay-Z came in and Howard asked when the last time was that he saw him. Jay-Z just asked what was up and what was happening.
Howard said he has his book, ”Decoded,” and and asked if he has an Andy Warhol picture on the front. He said that’s what it was. Howard said that’s like an art book. Jay-Z said he collects art and he has some Andy Warhol pictures. Howard asked Jay-Z if he ever feels like he’s getting hustled when it comes to art. Howard said he would get that feeling if he was into art. Jay-Z said that would be life. He said you feel that way with anything. Jay-Z said that it’s all about art. He said he tries to buy things that resonate with him.
Howard asked Jay-Z where he goes to buy art. Jay-Z said he has many different artists work. He said he has some older stuff and some new stuff. He said there are things that he has that just resonate with him and it doesn’t matter if they make a ton of money or not.
Howard said he was reading about how Jay-Z hustled the people who own the theme to Annie to get the rights to use it. Howard said he worked that situation and made it happen. Jay-Z said that was an important song for him so he had to make it work. He said he painted a couple of lies as the truth to make it happen.
Howard said he was reading the epilogue in the book and he talks about meeting Oprah Winfrey. Howard figured it was going to be about them hitting it off. Howard said that Oprah didn’t understand him and where he comes from. Howard asked if that was really uncomfortable for him. Jay-Z said that he wanted Oprah to understand him and they just came up in different eras. He said the N-word to Oprah is something much different than it is to him.
Howard said Jay-Z says that Michael Jackson’s ”Thriller” is the best album ever but he disagrees. Howard said he thinks that Sgt. Peppers is the best in his mind. Jay-Z said that one is in his top 5. Howard said he was reading about Jay-Z and how things started to change fro him when rap started. Jay-Z said that it resonated to him and it was something closer to home than the other music that was being made. Jay-Z said that it was easier for them to tell these stories about things that had just happened.
Howard said he was shocked that Jay-Z used to write poems when he was a little kid. Howard said his friends would steal them from him. He said that’s such a betrayal. Jay-Z said it was just about the guys going to school and getting the girls. Howard said they just liked his poems and they were really strong.
Jay-Z said he and his cousin didn’t speak for years when he was trying to get out there and pursue his dreams. He said he couldn’t wait for rap so he was doing other things.
Howard asked Jay-Z about being a crack dealer and a hustler and if he was afraid of going to jail. Jay-Z said he was afraid of getting killed too. He ended up shooting his brother in the shoulder at one point. Howard asked if he thinks that has anything to do with his father leaving. Jay-Z said of course it did. He said he was really close to his father. Jay-Z said their house was the party house and they had a lot of records there and his parents had their names on the records. He said they had reel to reel stuff and records there. Jay-Z said his house was filled with joy all the time. Jay-Z said they had a great time until the divorce. He said he was on his own a lot after that. He said he has two sisters and one brother and he’s the youngest.
Howard asked what happened that led to his father leaving. Jay-Z said his father’s brother got stabbed and killed and it really sent him into a spiral. He said he would go out and look for the guy that did it. He said his mom told him he couldn’t do that because he had a family to take care of. He wasn’t able to deal with the pain of the split between his brother and family. It was very traumatizing to him and he was never the same after that. All he knew at the time was that his father had left. He just left and didn’t come back.
Howard asked if his mother spent every day crying. Jay-Z said she was super strong but he never saw her cry. He said she may have cried behind closed doors. Jay-Z said he knew that his father was only about 15 minutes away in the projects. Howard said that must have driven him nuts.
Howard asked about reconciling with his father and how that happened. Jay-Z said that his mother made it happen actually. He said that they had tried to make it happen before that but it didn’t work out. He said they finally got together after many years of not seeing each other. Jay-Z said he doesn’t think his father had done it for the money either. He said he went into it thinking that he was going to tell him off but that’s not what happened. Jay-Z said that his father is still a tall, strong man at the time. He said he looked healthy at the time but he died the next month. He said that he had a bad liver. Jay-Z said he knew he was sick but they didn’t discuss it at the time. They never did catch the guy who killed his brother either. Jay-Z said he would tell them if he really did. Howard said it’s weird how he went out and looked for his father even after he had left him. Jay-Z said your father is like Superman to you so when they leave you never let anyone get that close to you again. He said you’re afraid of getting hurt again.
Howard asked Jay-Z about going to therapy. Jay-Z said his therapy is his music. He said he has a million therapists. Jay-Z said he never finished high school or went to college. He said he has to do his thing.
Howard asked Jay-Z what he said to his father when he met with him. Jay-Z said that they talked about the days when he left and how he was only up the street. He said that his father dealt with that stuff in his own way. Jay-Z said that it was his own stubbornness kicking in. He said he did end up hugging him. He said that his father passed a month later so that was the last time he saw him. He said that he was still drinking and smoking even though he knew he was sick. He was only 54 or 55 at the time.
Howard asked if he ever got married again or anything like that. Jay-Z said he never did. That whole brother thing freaked him out.
Howard asked Jay-Z if his family asks for money from him. Jay-Z said he has a great support system and they’re very protective of him. He said that they still have a great relationship and he doesn’t have a lot of people hitting him up for money. He said that his immediate family is so protective that there’s no taking advantage of him.
Howard said he was reading about how he calls himself a hustler and he now understands that it’s like a master manipulator. Jay-Z said that a hustler is like a guy who figures out a way to make their way in this society. He said that he made a lot of bad decisions when he was growing up. He said that he need to be forgiven for that stuff but he wants people to see that they’re more than just crack dealers.
Howard asked if he was a good crack dealer. Jay-Z said he was really good actually. He said if you add up the hours it wasn’t great money though. Howard said he managed to avoid big prison time. He said he read that he got pulled over and he had a car full of crack and they were going to have dogs come in to sniff out his car. The dogs couldn’t come so they had to let him go. Jay-Z said that inspired his song ”99 Problems” and he knew that he was getting pulled over for doing nothing wrong but he was in the wrong having the drugs in the car. Jay-Z said that he was pulled over for nothing and it’s obvious that he was being racially profiled. He was doing something wrong though. Howard said that was really eye opening for him. He said it must really suck to have that going on. Jay-Z said that it makes you do bad things.
Howard and Jay-Z talked about the rap and how it has turned into an art form over the years. Howard said that Jay-Z started to make money and now he’s in a world that he didn’t come from. Howard asked if he ever doesn’t know what to say because he’s not from that world. Jay-Z said he never feels ignorant. He said that he could be Oprah or Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. He said that they were all given opportunities. Howard said he read about Bill Gates and how he had access to computers as a kid. He said that he had more computer time than anyone but back then it was expensive. Howard said he had a father who was able to get him in to the lab for free and those are the opportunities that people don’t all get.
Howard said he saw Jay-Z and Beyonce with a bunch of security guards around them. He said he didn’t say anything to them. Jay-Z said it was just two security guards. Howard said he doesn’t see how a famous guy like him can go out. Jay-Z said that he’s out there trying to push their culture forward. Howard said he’s going to lose touch with the people. He said that he’s still in touch with those emotions and problems that he grew up with. The only difference is that he isn’t sitting on a park bench in his old neighborhood.
Howard asked about Rihanna and if he’s really hands on with her career. Jay-Z said he is managing her now but they had just signed her to their record label in the beginning. Jay-Z said he heard her stuff and he wanted to meet her. He said he knew she was a star the day he met her. He said that she performed in his office and she was only 16 at the time. Jay-Z said he told her that there was no way out of his office and he signed her that day.
Howard said that Rihanna must be generating a fortune. He asked if he could retire on her stuff alone. Jay-Z said no because he has expensive tastes. Howard asked what it is that he has expensive tastes on. Jay-Z said he was just half kidding. He said that he wants to raise and spoil his kids. Jay-Z said that he would like to change the whole generation of things. Howard asked what kind of watch he had on. Jay-Z said it was just a ”plain” Rolex.
Howard said that Jay-Z has said some things about President Obama and how things have been going since he got into office. Jay-Z said that he had some discussions with Obama right before he ran for president. He said that one of his said had set up that meeting.
Howard asked Jay-Z about using Alicia Keys on his song and how he decides on who to use. Jay-Z said that the song has to come first. He said that he thought Alicia fit that Empire State of Mind better than anyone. He said he thought about using Mary J. Blidge too but the piano parts just fit Alicia better. They spent a minute talking about the song and how huge it was last year. Howard asked how he heard the song. Jay-Z said he had a friend, Big John, who sent the song to him. He said he broke up the song and added some stuff to it and then added Alicia Keys to it. Jay-Z told Howard about some of his other songs that he has written.
Howard asked Jay-Z what happened to Lauren Hill. He said she’s got one of the greatest voices ever. Jay-Z said her record company forced her to come out with music she didn’t want to do. He said that kind of frustrated her. Jay-Z said he doesn’t do that kind of thing to his artists.
Gary came in and said that Jay-Z had to go. Howard said he had more to talk about. Jay-Z said he had a couple more minutes. Howard said he loves that song by Kanye West with scumbag and douche bag in it. Jay-Z said he figured he’d like that. They talked about Kanye going up on stage last year when Taylor Swift won an award. Jay-Z said that the timing was bad for that. He said that it was bad when he spoke out against President Bush too. He said they were both bad timing situations.
Howard asked Jay-Z if he takes his own toilet everywhere he goes. He said he loves that idea. Jay-Z said he doesn’t do that.
Howard got in a plug for Jay-Z’s book ”Decoded” which is out tomorrow. Howard said he’ll be signing books in a couple of locations there in the city on Wednesday. Howard asked if he’ll sign every person’s book that shows up. Jay-Z said that he can’t sign 10 million copies but he’ll do his best to sign everyone’s.
Howard asked Jay-Z about trying to get Lebron James to the Nets. Jay-Z said he’s a personal friend so he did ask him to come there. He said he’s not angry for him not coming there though. Howard asked if it’s profitable to own a team like the Nets. He said it’s really not. He said they don’t make money. He said there are only a couple of teams that make money like the Lakers. He said the Knicks might make money too since that places is always packed. Howard wrapped up and went to break after that.