Rapper, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and all-purpose famous person Jay-Z recently sat down with former late-night host turned Netflix emcee David Letterman for his My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and the interview took a turn for the epic. The two talked for close to an hour, covering everything from fatherhood to infidelity to social responsibility. As Letterman and Jay-Z spoke it became clear that the two men come from different places, but have arrived at a similar spot emotionally.
Here are the most profound quotes from the interview.
Jay-Z on tapping into his compassion after the birth of his daughter
“I was worried about being a good father. We’d never seen that, like never. There weren’t very many examples for us growing up of that. We had like a high IQ for other things. I could tell you if somebody who walked into the room was plotting…. But my emotional IQ was like minus 100 or so….It just clicks in. It’s strange that way” — Jay-Z
Jay-Z on why people choose not to change.
“Fear. Most time you find that people have been hurt…. It’s like breaking down to the very basic of who we are. You and I we both have the same fears we both have the same angst about our children growing up…It’s those basic emotions and the things that are invisible that are really important…loyalty and integrity, and all these things. Those are the things we have in common and then the fear— you’re white and I’m a black guy, you have a beard, I have a beard on my head —all these things that are different and separate us are fear based.” — Jay-Z
Jay -Z on the new era of social responsibility triggered by Trump.
“I think that what he’s forcing people to do is have a conversation, band together, and work together. You can’t really address something that’s not revealed. He’s bringing out an ugly side of America that we wanted to believe was gone and it’s still here and we still gotta deal with it, and we have to have the conversation, we have to have tough conversations. We have to talk about the ‘N’ word, and talk about why white men are so privileged in this country.” — Jay-Z
Letterman and Jay-Z on fixing their marriages after cheating on their wives.
“A few years ago I had gotten myself into some trouble and the situation was my responsibility and my fault…I did something that I had no business doing and I regret it. And since then I’ve tried to acknowledge that mistake and be a better person. You can only stop behavior that was hurting people and apologize for it and try to continue to be a better person….I like to think I’m not the person that caused so much pain to some many people, but at the time the pain I’d caused myself was the fear that I’d blown up my family.” — Letterman
“For a lot of us, we don’t have, especially where I grew up, and men in general, we don’t have emotional cues from where were young. Our emotional cues are ‘be a man,’ ‘stand up,’ ‘don’t cry’…the idea of ‘I can’t see it coming down my eyes, but I’ve gotta make the song cry’…is my way of saying I wanna cry, I wanna be open, I wanna have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together …I have a beautiful wife who was understanding and knew that I’m not the worst of what I’ve done. And we did the hard work of going to therapy…I like to believe that we’re in a better place today, but still working, and communicating, and growing. I’m proud of the father and husband that I am today because of all the work that was done.” — Jay-Z