“For her to sit in front of me and tell me ‘I think I love someone’ – I mean, I really cried,” the rapper said. “That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”
Gloria Carter came out publicly on Jay-Z’s song, “Smile,” which appeared on his 2017 album, 4:44. “Living in the shadow/Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?” Carter says on the song. “In the shadows people see you as happy and free/Because that’s what you want them to see/Living two lives, happy, but not free.”
While the rapper told Letterman that he knew his mother was gay, he said they’d never discussed her sexuality openly until he was working on the album. The rapper noted that he recorded “Smile” the day after they spoke.
“This was the first time we had the conversation,” Jay-Z said. “And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner. Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody.’ She said ‘I feel like.’ She held that little bit back, still. She didn’t say ‘I’m in love,’ she said ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just, I cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is. What is that?”
Letterman’s full interview with Jay-Z will premiere Friday, April 6th on Netflix.
With a rhyme career going since the late Eighties, Jay-Z’s songs have been reflective, pop, confessional, and hard-edged. Watch below.