By Maurice Bobb
As part of his “facts only” interview circuit, Jay Z sat down with The Truth’s Elliot Wilson for an hour and touched on a litany of topics, including the “new rules” roll out for his Magna Carta Holy Grail LP, his creative process, fatherhood, Billboard and, of course, his thoughts on the controversial Trayvon Martin case.
“I was really angry,” Jay said of George Zimmerman’s acquittal. “I didn’t sleep for two days. We all knew there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant was… if you just asked the questions, asked yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Trayvon have a right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased and he fought back.”
Jay Z and Beyoncé both attended a protest of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws in New York City on Saturday (July 20), supporting Trayvon Martin’s family, who are still coping with the not guilty verdict that freed Zimmerman, who Hov referred to as a “mall cop.”
“They’re funding George Zimmerman because they want to hold onto their guns, so the NRA… your mind can go so many places about why this verdict came down the way it came down, and we all know it was wrong. It was wrong! This guy’s not a professional,” Jay said. “First of all, you’re not a professional to profile someone. Professionals are taught not to profile someone. This guy’s a novice.”
“This guy’s a f—ing mall cop. You can’t assess a situation and figure out what you’re gonna do. That’s not what you do for a living. And even the law, that Stand Your Ground law. You can have a fight with someone and they’re running way, you can shoot them and kill them and you’re fine? What? Come on. Come on, man. Like someone’s robbing your house and they’re leaving and you can shoot them on the way out? They don’t [pose] a threat to you at that point. So how? How is that self defense?”
In explaining the meaning behind MCHG’s “Somewhereinamerica,” the Roc Nation CEO touched on the incongruity of racism and the way today’s youth all listen to the same music.
“It’s like, again, a reminder [that] we still got a long way to go. It’s beautiful, because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way,” Jay said. “We’re a bit removed from those racist feelings because again, it’s hard to teach racism when your child is out [at] clubs. It’s integrated and the music we listen to is the same. Our feelings and our anxieties are more similar now. So you have hope that this generation don’t see racism that way, but you still see that that old guard — that whole thing that I’m fighting against — that old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all that ego and that bullsh-t is just still there, it still exists. You just hate to believe that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the “Picasso, Baby” MC touched on his competitive nature as a lyricist, despite his indisputably impressive discography, but did give props to up-and-comers like J. Cole and Drake.
“I’m sure Cole thinks his album is better than mine, and I’m cool with that, he supposed to believe that, but there’s a respect thing,” Jay said. “Even Drake, we have a great relationship. I know he feels like, ‘I’m the next one, I’m right here,’ we hear the lines, ‘feelin’ like the throne is for the takin, watch me take it..’ you know he’s feeling it, it’s cool, it wasn’t meant with malice or disrespect, it’s just like ‘I’m comin, acknowledge my existence. He’s definitely Kobe Bryant.”
As for Billboard not counting the first million units sold of MCHG because they were purchased in bulk by Samsung, Hov considers them “irrelevant” for not changing with the times. “They work for us,” he said. “Their job is to encourage the business to bring in new revenue streams, not to discourage me.”