Jay-Z Chats With Carson Daly On Last Call

was Carson Daly’s first guest on Last Call on Friday. Jay talked about his new album ‘Blueprint 2’, the murder of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, how he hooked up with his vodka label, the ‘Rap Patrol’ that’s been investigating hip hop for at least two years, how rap has moved beyond being called just a fad and where it may be headed next, and he gave his thoughts on fellow artists Will Smith, Eminem, and 50 Cent. Read on for a transcript.

Carson: Thank you very much. Let me bring out my first guest right
now. He was named after two new york city subway lines, the “j” and the

[ Cheers ] Something tells me he’s driving something a little nicer
now. Welcome Jay-Z.

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Applause ] Easy, baby. Easy. Thank you for coming out tonight. First
of all, let me just say, when I got this show, this was — you know, we’ve
all seen Jay on other talk shows and things like that performing, and that’s
why we love him. And getting to know Jay-Z for the past, I don’t know,
five or six years, he’s one of the smartest men in the business and is
one of the greatest people, and I wanted to just talk to him. So that’s
what we’re gonna do tonight with you, and thank you for being on the show.

Jay-Z: My man.

Carson: All right. Good to have you here. [rapdirt.com]

[ Cheers and applause ]

Jay-Z: I didn’t know so many people was here, man.

Carson: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

[ Laughter ]

Jay-Z: Audience: We love you, Jay!

Jay-Z: Thank you, thank you.

Carson: We’ve got lots to talk about, but first, let me just hit the
first topic in the recent loss of jam master Jay. The funeral was today
in new york. For those people that might be watching right now, they keep
writing this is a big story, his loss in hip-hop, when it wasn’t. It was
a big story in music. What this man did transcended just hip-hop. Tell
people about jam master Jay.

Jay-Z: First of all, you’ve got to figure, they brought, like, they
revived like aerosmith’s career, you know what I’m saying? That’s way bigger
than hip-hop. They was making songs with, you know, huge rock and roll
guys in the ’80s, you know what I’m saying? They was like the first people
to be played on mtv, you know what I’m saying? These are like legends of
the game. These guys, you know, they opened doors for every one of the
artists that you see on your video channels right now.

Carson: And what was it about jam master Jay as opposed to run or dee
back then and what he was doing, musically?

Jay-Z: Yeah, he was laying, he was giving them the sound bed, you know
what I’m saying? Like, they was rappers, you know what I’m saying? And
that’s very important. They was in the forefront, but he was giving them
that music. He was putting them, putting on shows together, and he was
the glue that held run dmc together.

Carson: Right. “The new york times” article now is saying that, you
know, like we have a narc division of the nypd, now they’re talking about
having a division that will specifically police hip-hop.

Jay-Z: We call that “the rap patrol.”

Carson: “The rap patrol.”

[ Laughter ]

Jay-Z: They had that for like two years.

Carson: They did? And what did they do?

Jay-Z: Oh, they’d follow rappers around in clubs, you know, and just

Carson: So could you tell if you were in a club, who the rap patrol

Jay-Z: No, you couldn’T. No, no. They had them all dressed up nice.
They got rocker ware.

[ Laughter ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

Carson: They’re supposed to be policing you. They’re advertising for

Jay-Z: Yeah, they got the hats, they’re dressed right.  [rapdirt.com]

Carson: But was their idea, Jay, to, like, to know — I guess it’s just
new york — but to know the scene so well, to keep eyes on it and to see
the progress of heat on the street, how beefs are evolving, how you guys
are when you’re out so that they have notes in case, almost anticipating
something bad’s gonna go down?

Jay-Z: That’s almost, like, against the civil rights. Something’s gotta
be wrong with that. They can’t just be —

[ Cheers and applause ] There has to be a law against that.

Carson: Is that what they plan on doing now?

Jay-Z: They’ve been doing that for two years.

Carson: Right.

Jay-Z: I’m telling you.

Carson: That’s crazy to me, though.

Jay-Z: At least, I mean, it was known for two years. They might have
been doing it longer, but it was known for two years.

Carson: I think people, when they constantly read some of the — well,
some, not the ignorant people, but people that don’t know a lot — well,
that’s ignorance — about hip-hop. They keep reading this stuff and some
of the shootings and the deaths, and they just — how come i– isn’t the
idea to make some money, to put yourself in a situation where you can escape
some of the stuff that you might have had in the hood growing up? Not even
you specifically.

Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah, but you’ve got to figure, like, artists, you know,
like my first almm came out in ’96, you know what I’m saying? Or before
that, I lived in mossy projects, and I lived in brooklyn. You know, just
because I get a record deal, and I start making money, that don’t change
the person that I am or don’t eliminate, you know, problems that I had
before, before I came into the rap business. You know, and rappers, they
want to — there’s a fine line you walk. You know, you want tlive nice,
but also you’ve got friendsin the hood. You want to go visit them, you
want to go see them, you want to go chill, you want to be on the bench.
You know what I’m saying?

Carson: Yeah.

Jay-Z: But then, you know, at the same time, you have elements out there,
people that are jealous of you and things like that, and sometimes things
are cut.

Carson: How do you walk that fine line between relevance and safety?

Jay-Z: I don’t know, man.

[ Laughter ] Every day, man. I don’t know no other way to be, but I
don’t know. I don’t have a — I don’t have a blueprint for it.

Carson: Right?

Jay-Z: You know what I’m saying.

Carson: You seem like you do, ’cause you do it so well.

Jay-Z: That was a plug I was throwing.

[ Laughter and applause ]

Carson: It seems like rap in the ’90s was very political, with tribe
and public enemy, de la soul, even nwa. I think a lot of their stuff stems
from politics. I guess in the mid-’90s, when you came around, when puff
came out, a lot of the content was lifestyle-driven, sort of the glamorous
side of hip-hop. I’d love to know where you think it is right now, and
as it evolves, where it might go.

Jay-Z: Things like, you know, rap, that’s why it’s ever-changing. You
know what I mean? That’s why they’ll never stop it, you know? They’ve always
said rap would die, and it was a fad, and they would stop it or whatever,
but it’s forever changing, you know? Like you said, the ’90s was political,
then you had people who come from the hood and got some money, and they
celebrated for a couple years. You know, now, has to change again. Maybe
with all this war and everything that’s going on right now, you know, maybe
it will go back being political, maybe revolutionary, like dead presidents.
You know what I’m saying, dudes like that.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Carson: You — “blueprint 2” is like your seventh album, we’ll call
it. Eighth, but we’ll call it seventh.

Jay-Z: You could say nine.

Carson: We could say nine.

[ Laughter ] Were you really gonna quit after the first album?

Jay-Z: Yeah. I mean, that was, like, you know, the artist side of me.
I really just wanted to — no one’s ever done that, just I don’t know,
maybe. Just made, like, one album that was a classic and just stopped.

Carson: And that was on your mind?

Jay-Z: That was just some artsy, I don’t know what I was thinking at
that time, you know?

[ Laughter ]

Carson: So when you were coming up —

Jay-Z: I didn’t understand the impact that I would have on people. You
know what I’m saying? I didn’t know that people would want to hear my music
like that, like I didn’t factor that in, ’cause I never had an alm m out.
So before recording this album, I was like, “I’ll make one album, you know,
and that will be it.” And like, people would come up to me, like, an effect
that my music had on them was like, it was shocking.

Carson: Right. How long were you looking for your first deal?

Jay-Z: Forever. I never got it.

Carson: But before “rock star.” Were you shopping around? ‘Cause it
seems like most rappers get a deal, and then they get their imprint if
they’re successful, but you went sort of a different way.

Jay-Z: Yeah. I was shopping on all the labels, like, “you’re whack.
Beat it.”

Carson: That’s what I’m saying. What were they saying?

Jay-Z: “You’re whack. Beat it.” [rapdirt.com]

[ Laughter ]

Carson: And that’s never discouraged you to stop?

Jay-Z: Huh-uh. I knew that I had, you know, something that people wanted
to hear, you know what I’m saying? And it was, I mean, it was something
that people heard before, but it wasn’t told from that perspective, and
it wasn’t told that honestly and that real, you know? I just needed —
you know, the record company serves as my bridge to the people, you know
what I’m saying? They didn’t provide that bridge for me, so I just had
to build my own bridge.

Carson: Where det the business savvy to build your own bridge?

Jay-Z: I learned — actually, I had a hit record. That helps you a lot.

Carson: That helped.

Jay-Z: You know what I’m saying?

Carson: Yeah.

Jay-Z: So all those foolish demands they was, like, considering because
I had a hit record, you know?

Carson: Right.

Jay-Z: But you know, I fortunately had a record that helped me, you
know what I’m saying? I learned as I was going along.

Carson: Right.

Jay-Z: I didn’t know anything about the music business. I was just asking

Carson: The reason I’m asking is I’m thinking that if somebody who might
be like yourself is watching this is a big fan, or maybe they’re shopping
their tape, and they’re getting the same response, but they don’t know
anybody in the music business.

Jay-Z: I didn’t know anyone. [rapdirt.com]

Carson: So how would you do?

Jay-Z: I was just working hard. You know, I printed out the records,
put the records in the trunk. I was driving them to the stores downwn brooklyn
to the mall, everything.

[ Laughter ] Yeah, B. Street.

Carson: She’s like, “I sold the records for you.”

Jay-Z: You might work in B. Street. You just got some free advertisement.

Carson: Let me ask about when you’re in the studio. I’ve only been in
twice in two studio experience. I went to see busta when he was recording,
and busta seemed very business-oriented. There weren’t a lot of cats around,
just, like, hanging out, playing video games. He seemed very business about
it. I went when wu tang was doing “iron flag,” and forget it. That was
like 3:00 in the morning, there were people everywhere sleeping, playing,
like, the whole thing. What is your studio experience like?

Jay-Z: I usually like to just fly, like, by myself, you know what I’m
saying? For the most part. Then, I mean, I need people to hear it, you
know what I’m saying? Like, I need that reaction, or I need to see if there
is a reaction, you know what I’m saying? See about continue making that
song. But I usually just fly by myself, and then I just have that wu tang
atmosphere after it’s done.

Carson: Right.

Jay-Z: Some people need, like, a lot of people around, so it’s just,
you know — records.

Carson: Let me run a couple names by you. Just tell me a little bit
about your thoughts. First, will smith.

Jay-Z: I gotta respect will smith. He’s big business, you know what
I’m saying? Like, will smith’s been doing it for a long time. I think he’s
the first one toto win the grammy or something like that.

Carson: Yeah.

Jay-Z: So I mean, sitcoms, and now he’s doing it on the movie side.
I’ve got nothing but respect for will smith. [rapdirt.com]

Carson: What about people on the street or rappers that disrespect him?

Jay-Z: I mean, they don’t got to like his rap. They’ve got to respect
his business though. They’ve got to respect what he’s doing. I mean, and
they’ve got to respect what he’s doing for the culture.

Carson: Right.

Jay-Z: Like the doors he’s opening for, you know, movie stars, like,
dmx and all the new guys that’s coming from rap and, you know, making movies
now. He opened those doors for them.

Carson: Right. What about 50 cent?

Jay-Z: Hot right now.

[ Laughter ]

Carson: Hot?

Jay-Z: Street.

Carson: Yeah?

Jay-Z: Yeah. He’s got the heat. Yeah, he’s hot right now.

Carson: Eminem?

Jay-Z: Genius.

Carson: Yeah?

Jay-Z: Yeah.

Carson: Quickly I just want to mention, I mean, you’ve got rocker ware,
you’ve got a new vodka now, and damon gave me a bottle the other day. What’s
up with the vodka? It’s good, I’ll tell you that.

Jay-Z: Yeah, it’s smooth, right? [rapdirt.com]

Carson: It’s smooth.

Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah.

Carson: You don’t need club soda.

Jay-Z: Yeah. No, it’s smooth. What happened was, he was overseas somewhere
like london. It’s all a blur right now. And we liked the vodka.

[ Laughter ] And we liked the vodka. And they didn’t have distribution
over here in the states, and we just, as a joke, we was like, “let’s buy

[ Laughter ]

Carson: That’s the kind of business Jay does now. When he’s drunk joking,
he buys a company. That is big.

Jay-Z: Yeah.

Carson: That is big business right there.

Jay-Z: Yeah.

Carson: So now you woke up with a hangover and a new vodka company.

Jay-Z: Yeah.

Carson: Yeah.

Jay-Z: It’s going well.

[ Applause ]

Carson: All right, we’ve gotta go. We should get drunk and buy the knicks
and fix them.

[ Laughter ]

Jay-Z: Yeah. They should hire me or something. With the picks they make

Jay-Z: Audience: Rebuild. [rapdirt.com]

Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah.

[ Laughter ] Let’s rebuild.

Carson: Listen, I’m glad we just had a chance to chat. Thank you so
much for being here.

[ Cheers and applause ] “Blueprint 2” is the album. Go get it. Jay-Z.

Jay-Z: Thank you.

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