Jay-Z has performed live on the VMAs and The Jay Leno Show, sold out Madison Square Garden and traveled to the U.K. to hang out with Coldplay on his current promotional tour for The Blueprint 3. But there was one stage left to conquer, and Jigga tackled it yesterday: Oprah. Winfrey came out firing when Jay-Z arrived on her show, complimenting the rapper on his smell (“It’s swagger,” an audience member yelled out). From there, things got more serious, and Oprah spoke to Jay-Z about hip-hop’s importance to American culture, their joint trip to Brooklyn and what Jay-Z said to his “Run This Town” co-star Rihanna after she was assaulted in February by Chris Brown.
“I pretty much spoke to Rhianna about it. It’s one of those situations where she’s young, they’re both young,” Jay-Z said. “It was either a situation where she can grow… There’s a contention of young people who are going through the same things, and no one hears their voice. She can be their hero. Or she can choose not to grow from this.”
Oprah did get critical over the hip-hop world’s use of the N-word and admonished Jay for tossing it into his rhymes. “People give words power. For our generation, what we did is that we took the word, and we took the power out of that word. We took a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment,” Jay-Z said. “We pretty much took the power out of the word. If we just start removing words from the dictionary, they’ll just make up words the next day. So we don’t address the problem. The problem is racism, that’s really the problem.”
Jay-Z’s wife Beyoncé had taught Oprah how to do some “Single Ladies” moves in a prior episode, so for the final segment Winfrey asked Jay to teach her how to rap. The results were not so good, as evidenced by the video up top. “It’s almost like double-dutch. You gotta stay in the middle of that,” advised Jay-Z. “I wasn’t good at double-dutch either,” Oprah responded.
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