A usually media mum Jay Z (real name Shawn Carter) is doing a ton of press these days. Some would assume it’s because of his latest album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, but there are others that feel the 43-year-old rapper is getting with the times–meaning sharing more of his world, personal life and views with fans and critics. Whether it’s a twitter rant, radio promo or sharing some behind the scenes footage of the creation of his new album, the Brooklyn native has a lot to say. This week, he sat down with music journalist Elliott Wilson who’s become popular for his one-on-one’s called ‘The Truth With Elliott Wilson.’ During the chat (BTW, apparently, Jay Z is his boss), Mr. Carter talks criticism, staying competitive and his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin ruling. Peep the excerpts below.
The criticism he received because of comparing himself to other artists:
Why not compare yourself to the best? Am I supposed to be here to be second best? I’m not doing this for that. If other people are cool with settling or not putting themselves in the light, again, thats their personal preference. If you don’t want to be in that light that’s fine Im not mad at you. I don’t have an opinion on what you want to do, if you want to be second that’s cool. People gotta realize that I’ve put a lot of my life into what Im doing right now, I didn’t just have a hit record and get lucky , the things that come of out it, is not due to bravado and arrogance, I have confidence because of the work I put in.
Not being a prisoner to fame:
What’s the sense of being successful if you can’t still be yourself? I thought the worse thing to being successful, is to be successful as someone else. Imagine putting an image out there thats not really you and then it being really successful, then you have to live up to that everyday. I never wanted to be that and I certainly never don’t want to be the guy that pulls away. ‘I can’t go, I can’t have a bite to eat, I can’t walk to the store.’ That’s never gonna happen.
Why he stays competitive:
I love what I do and when you love what you do you want to be the best at it. You don’t make music to be second best, you make music to be the best. Sometimes you have to put your stats out there to remind people like, ‘Yo, I’m the real deal.’
Feelings on the next generation of rappers:
To me, it’s encouraging. Who would want to do all these things and open all these doors?…I’m doing all these things for the next generation to come in and take advantage of it so whatever took me 15 years to accomplish, it only takes them five years to accomplish. It encourages me that I see this next new crop of new legends coming in. Im ecstatic. I’m like how can I help? What do you need? I’m offering help in anyway I can, I’m constantly opening doors for that next generation to come in. I feel good about it, cause at a point I was like, ‘what’s gonna happen next?’
Thoughts and feelings on the Trayvon Martin ruling:
I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days. The thing that we all knew, there’s still a it of racism in America, for it to be so blatant..Just ask yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground….He had plans… It’s a reminder of that we still have a long way to go. Its beautiful because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way.
Peep the entire interview below.