Quotes by Jay-Z

My first album didn't come out until I was 26.
- Jay-Z
I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.
- Jay-Z
I'm far from being god, but I work god damn hard.
- Jay-Z
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I think relationships are broken up because of the media.
- Jay-Z
Your job is to inspire people from your neighborhood to get out.
- Jay-Z
I love what I do, and when you love what you do, you want to be the best at it.
- Jay-Z
The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value.
- Jay-Z
I was never a worker. And that's not even being arrogant. I was just never a worker.
- Jay-Z
Religion is like a personal computer. You let people in if you want to... We're all gods.
- Jay-Z
I'm just going to make the music I love to make, and I'm going to mature with my music.
- Jay-Z
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No, I'm not interested in politics. I have zero interest. I have interest in hope and people.
- Jay-Z
The average rap life is two or three albums. You're lucky to get to your second album in rap!
- Jay-Z
Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that's the foundation for everything great.
- Jay-Z
I don't sit around with my friends and talk about money, ever. On a record, that's different.
- Jay-Z
Shakespeare was a man who wrote poetry. I'm a man who writes poetry. Why not compare yourself to the best?
- Jay-Z
I was a really good student. In the sixth grade, I was reading at a twelfth grade reading level. But I got bored.
- Jay-Z
I think it's very important for hip-hop, when an artist reaches a certain level, to ascend to executive work.
- Jay-Z
Rap for me is like making movies, telling stories, and getting the emotions of the songs through in just as deep a way.
- Jay-Z
What people have to understand is 'Billboard' is a magazine. They're like elected officials - they work for us.
- Jay-Z
I listen to everything - from Sarah McLachlan and Alanis Morissette all the way down to rap like Scarface, UGK and Lauryn Hill.
- Jay-Z
That's the reason why I'm making albums. That's the reason why I love hip-hop: It's a challenge every time.
- Jay-Z
Music is everywhere - you consume it every day, everywhere you go. The content creator should be compensated. It's only fair.
- Jay-Z
I think reviews have lost a lot of their importance now because of the Internet; everyone is experiencing things at the same time.
- Jay-Z
Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly.
- Jay-Z
My brands are an extension of me. They're close to me. It's not like running GM, where there's no emotional attachment.
- Jay-Z
People wanted to make products based on our child's name, and you don't want anybody trying to benefit off your baby's name.
- Jay-Z
I came into this music business at 26 years old. I was a fully developed man at that point. At that age, I didn't have anything to prove.
- Jay-Z
It was a weird mix of emotions. One day, your best friend could be killed. The day before, you could be celebrating him getting a brand-new bike.
- Jay-Z
All my businesses are part of the culture, so I have to stay true to whatever I'm feeling at the time, whatever direction I'm heading in.
- Jay-Z
Do you know how many athletes go broke three years after they stop playing? I want to help them hold on to their money. I mean, I know about budgets.
- Jay-Z
New York - I'm connected. This is my core. I feel like if I'm not connected to New York, then I don't even know what to do with myself.
- Jay-Z
I don't have any fear of working with Samsung because I'm not gonna let them put a phone on my forehead; that's just never gonna happen.
- Jay-Z
Wherever I go, I bring the culture with me, so that they can understand that it's attainable. I didn't do it any other way than through hip-hop.
- Jay-Z
My mom always taught me - you know, little boys listen to their moms too much - that whatever you put into something is what you're going to get out of it.
- Jay-Z
The day Obama got into office, rap was less important because Obama gave kids an alternative. But will rap ever go away? No. There will always be a need for poets.
- Jay-Z
Everyone who makes music is a good collaborator at their foundation because in order to make music, you have to connect to it in a way that other people can't.
- Jay-Z
Primarily I see myself as so much more than a rapper. I really believe I am the voice for a lot of people who don't have that microphone or who can't rap.
- Jay-Z
When the TV version of Annie came on, I was drawn to it. It was the struggle of this poor kid in this environment and how her life changed. It immediately resonated.
- Jay-Z
I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it's towards, aren't I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?
- Jay-Z
People really feel like music is free but will pay $6 for water. You can drink water free out of the tap, and it's good water. But they're OK paying for it.
- Jay-Z
We were living in a tough situation, but my mother managed; she juggled. Sometimes we'd pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off.
- Jay-Z
I think that's what happened to the record business when 'Napster' came around. The industry rejected what was happening instead of accepting it as change.
- Jay-Z
I treat people based on who they really are, not the name. Everyone has to be respectful and be a human being. No one's above... That's how I carry it with anybody.
- Jay-Z
I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip-hop community to build upon Def Jam's fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era.
- Jay-Z
They say a midget standing on a giant's shoulders can see much further than the giant. So I got the whole rap world on my shoulders, they trying to see further than I am.
- Jay-Z
No one came to our neighborhoods with stand-up jobs and showed us there's a different way. Maybe, had I seen different role models, maybe I'd've turned on to that.
- Jay-Z
Hip-hop is more about attaining wealth. People respect success. They respect big. They don't even have to like your music. If you're big enough, people are drawn to you.
- Jay-Z
By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper - my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape.
- Jay-Z
Music is the soundtrack to your life. It's not going to go anywhere. But the way people are purchasing music has changed. It's not the same anymore. It will never be the same.
- Jay-Z
Successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who've never done anything because if you haven't been successful, then you don't know how it feels to lose it all.
- Jay-Z
I've said the election of Obama has made the hustler less relevant. People took it in a way that I was almost dismissing what I am. And I was like, 'No, it's a good thing!'
- Jay-Z
I grew up in Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, and my mom and pop had an extensive record collection, so Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and all of those sounds and souls of Motown filled the house.
- Jay-Z
Hip-hop has done more for race relations than most cultural icons; and I say save Martin Luther King, because his 'I Have A Dream' speech was realized when Obama was elected into office.
- Jay-Z
When you have a reputation for making not only good songs but great albums, that in itself creates added artistic pressure. But, at the end of the day, I guess that pressure is something I welcome.
- Jay-Z
Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That's just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it... that's excellence.
- Jay-Z
Biggie was the King Of New York as a rapper. There's a lot more dangerous guys than Biggie Smalls out there, you know what I'm saying? John Gotti was way closer to King Of New York than him.
- Jay-Z
I'll make a song with Rick Rubin, a song with Beyonce, a song with Lenny Kravitz. I just believe in making good music. I'm not trying to section myself off into just making hard-core rap music.
- Jay-Z
It's hilarious a lot of times. You have a conversation with someone, and he's like, 'You speak so well!' I'm like, 'What do you mean? Do you understand that's an insult?
- Jay-Z
The burden of poverty isn't just that you don't always have the things you need, it's the feeling of being embarrassed every day of your life, and you'd do anything to lift that burden.
- Jay-Z
I don't think any rapper can go back. You can be a car salesman, a bank teller - I mean, really good jobs, and people are still gonna look at you and be like, 'You used to rap; what happened?'
- Jay-Z
The experiences that I've had growing up with music, you know, I couldn't trade them for any money in the world. Dancing in the living room to enjoy myself. 'Enjoy Yourself,' Michael Jackson.
- Jay-Z
Nothing me and Kanye can do musically was gonna match the event of what we were trying to do. So we were trying to deliver an album and experience at one time; that was the idea for 'Watch The Throne'.
- Jay-Z
For me, being with Obama or having dinner with Bill Clinton... it's crazy. It's mind-blowing, because where I come from is just another world. We were just ignored by politicians - by America in general.
- Jay-Z
When you're accustomed to wealth, you don't show it, right? That's why the white kids in school could wear bummy sneakers; it's almost like, 'Don't show wealth - that's crass.'
- Jay-Z
As an artist, you make music. And if you see people who don't know how to market your music, you get involved in it. Otherwise, what you want to accomplish 'gets lost in translation' - no pun intended.
- Jay-Z
If you look at my career and you look at the span of my work and the things I have done, as far as to garner fame, you'll see that I have turned down more interviews than I do. Or I turn down more things than I do.
- Jay-Z
I've never looked at myself and said that I need to be a certain way to be around a certain sort of people. I've always wanted to stay true to myself, and I've managed to do that. People have to accept that.
- Jay-Z
I was an artist, I was executive producer on my first album, so I've always had to manage both. I couldn't get a record deal. It wasn't by choice - I couldn't get a record deal, so I had to figure it out.
- Jay-Z
When you're growing up, your dad is your superhero. Once you've let yourself fall that in love with someone, once you put him on such a high pedestal and he lets you down, you never want to experience that pain again.
- Jay-Z
Around 20. I'd been trying to transition from the streets to the music business, but I would make demos and then quit for six months. And I started to realize that I couldn't be successful until I let the street life go.
- Jay-Z
As kids we didn't complain about being poor; we talked about how rich we were going to be and made moves to get the lifestyle we aspired to by any means we could. And as soon as we had a little money, we were eager to show it.
- Jay-Z
My passion is music, you know, and music influences culture, influences lifestyle, which leads me to 'Roc-A-Wear'. I was forced to be an entrepreneur, so that led me to be CEO of 'Roc-A-Fella' records, which lead to Def Jam.
- Jay-Z
Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You're the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything, he should be left alone.
- Jay-Z
When I listen to Amy Winehouse, I believe that her heart and soul is in the music, or if I listen to other British artists like Duffy or Estelle. The aesthetic of it is different, and it's my point of view. It's not anything formulaic.
- Jay-Z
Everyone knows I'm married; I just don't discuss it. Because it's a part of my life that I'd rather keep private... When your whole life is played out in front of everybody, for your sanity, you need parts that are just yours.
- Jay-Z
I was forced to be an artist and a CEO from the beginning, so I was forced to be like a businessman because when I was trying to get a record deal, it was so hard to get a record deal on my own that it was either give up or create my own company.
- Jay-Z
I've talked to Bill Clinton - he's the ultimate rock star; no one's more charming than him. People clap in a restaurant when he finishes dinner! I don't get that treatment. I get it when I walk onstage, but not when I have dinner.
- Jay-Z
When I came into the music, I was forced to be a CEO. I was forced to be an entrepreneur; I was forced to... because I was looking for a deal. I didn't have this grand scheme of starting a record company and then morphing into a clothing empire.
- Jay-Z
That was the greatest trick in music that people ever pulled off, to convince artists that you can't be an artist and make money. I think the people that were making the millions said that. It was almost shameful, especially in rock n' roll.
- Jay-Z
I'm a mirror. If you're cool with me, I'm cool with you, and the exchange starts. What you see is what you reflect. If you don't like what you see, then you've done something. If I'm standoffish, that's because you are.
- Jay-Z
Some people are attracted to vulnerability. From my very first album, I've been vulnerable. I've always given parts of me, parts of my life - good, bad, ugly. I've never put up this image as a super-thug. Also, some people just like the music.
- Jay-Z
If just the presence of Tidal causes other companies to have better pay structure or to pay more attention to it moving forward, then we've been successful in one way. So we don't really view them as competitors. As the tide rises, all the boats rise.
- Jay-Z
Companies that pretend to care about music and really care about other things - whether it be hardware, whether it be advertising - and now they look at music as a loss leader. And we know music isn't a loss leader; music is an important part of our lives.
- Jay-Z
I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice - anything just to get a paper bag. And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook.
- Jay-Z
'Blueprint 3' is made up of songs, but it's also a commentary on the idea that in order for rap to survive, we have to stretch out the drama. We have to stretch out the audience. It can't be this narrow - we have to stretch out the point of view.
- Jay-Z
Just strengthening that theme that America is a place of opportunity and hoping to inspire people to fulfill those opportunities, and to want more, and to want better, and to see the places we can go. So many people identify with me because of the place that I come from.
- Jay-Z
Hip-hop has done so much for racial relations, and I don't think it's given the proper credit. It has changed America immensely. I'm going to make a very bold statement: Hip-hop has done more than any leader, politician, or anyone to improve race relations.
- Jay-Z
I don't profess to be a political rapper, like groups such as 'Dead Prez' or 'Public Enemy', but I think social commentary should make its way into your music. Speaking on your neighbourhood is social commentary - what happens, what's going on.
- Jay-Z
I have inherited two of the most important brands in hip-hop, Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella. Reid and Universal Music Group have given me the opportunity to manage the companies I have contributed to my whole career. I feel this is a giant step for me and the entire artist community.
- Jay-Z
I remember the first time I saw the 'Sugarhill Gang' on Soul Train. I was 11 or 12. I was like, 'What's going on? How did those guys get on national TV?' And then, when I was a little older, a rapper from the neighborhood got a record deal. I was shocked.
- Jay-Z
You make your first album, you make some money, and you feel like you still have to show face, like 'I still go to the projects.' I'm like, why? Your job is to inspire people from your neighborhood to get out. You grew up there. What makes you think it's so cool?
- Jay-Z
I collect art, and I drink wine... things that I like that I had never been exposed to. But I never said, 'I'm going to buy art to impress this crowd.' That's just ridiculous to me. I don't live my life like that, because how could you be happy with yourself?
- Jay-Z
I don't know where streaming will go in the future. The analytics that we're seeing tell us that streaming is the next thing, and downloads are going down. I feel like with the history of this platform, from vinyl to where we are now, it just seems like the next logical step.
- Jay-Z
I learned to ride a ten-speed when I was 4 or 5. My uncle gave me the bike, hand-me-down, and everyone used to stare at me riding up and down this block. I was too short to reach the pedals, so I put my legs through the V of the frame. I was famous. The little kid who could ride the ten-speed.
- Jay-Z
My thing is related to who I am as a person. The clothes are an extension of me. The music is an extension of me. All my businesses are part of the culture, so I have to stay true to whatever I'm feeling at the time, whatever direction I'm heading in. And hopefully, everyone follows.
- Jay-Z
It was a very intense and stressful situation. There was playing in the Johnny-pump (an opened fire hydrant) and the ice-cream man coming around and all of these games that we'd play, and suddenly it would turn just violent and there would be shootings at 12 in the afternoon on any given day.
- Jay-Z
Growing up, politics never trickled down to the areas we come from. But people from Obama's camp, and Obama himself, reached out to me and asked for my help on the campaign. We've sat and had dinner, and we've spoken on the phone. He's a very sharp guy. Very charming. Very cool.
- Jay-Z
I never wanted to just glamorize the playa lifestyle and not touch on the down side. I wanted everyone who's in a desperate situation to know that, if they wanna choose that kinda lifestyle, they gotta be aware of everything that comes with it! It's not just about the cars, the ladies and the money.
- Jay-Z
I'm hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That's what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that's from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter.
- Jay-Z
When Basquiat was hanging out with Madonna and Fab Five Freddy, and all those worlds were colliding, people have to realize hip-hop and the arts were like this 'cause we both were outcasts: we wasn't allowed inside the galleries or inside Yankee Stadium. We were writing in the street and making music.
- Jay-Z
Racism is taught in the home. We agree on that? Well, it's very hard to teach racism to a teenager who's listening to rap music and who idolizes, say, Snoop Dogg. It's hard to say, 'That guy is less than you.' The kid is like, 'I like that guy, he's cool. How is he less than me?
- Jay-Z
Successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who've never done anything because if you haven't been successful, then you don't know how it feels to lose it all. You don't have that fear. So why do you think people get stuck in those boxes? It's that fear of going back down.
- Jay-Z
I've got a nice collection of paintings - a Basquiat, a black-and-white Warhol that's like a Rorschach test, and I commissioned Takashi Murakami to do a ten-foot joint for me. It's almost like the explosion in Hiroshima with his famous skeleton head. There's a wall above my fireplace reserved for it.
- Jay-Z
I got love for Damon Dash as I did before. I don't know if we can be around each other in that way because times have changed. He may be a totally different person. I know I'm a different person. But nothing can erase that era, those times, those memories, those fights to get 'Roc-A-fella' where it was.
- Jay-Z
I'm just saying the producers and people who work on music are getting left out - that's when it starts getting criminal. It's like you're working hard, and you're not receiving. In any other business, people would be standing before Congress. They have antitrust laws against this kind of behavior.
- Jay-Z
If I go into a studio and find my truth of the moment, there are a number of people in the world who can relate to what I'm saying and are going to buy into what I'm doing. Not because it's the new thing of the moment, but because it's genuine emotion. Its how I feel. This is how I articulate the world.
- Jay-Z
My mom had early rap records, like Jimmy Spicer. In the middle of the records was a turntable and a receiver - I used to scratch records on it - and on top was a reel-to-reel. In front of that wall were more stacks of records. It was either Mom's record or Pop's record, and they had their names on each and every one.
- Jay-Z

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