If you're a Jay-Z fan, his latest album 4:44 has probably been the soundtrack of your summer. When 4:44 dropped in June, it made plenty of headlines thanks to the song "Smile," in which Jay-Z discusses his mom Gloria Carter coming out as a lesbian. His mom is also featured on the track, reciting a poem she wrote called "Living In the Shadows."
"Let me tell you how ["Smile"] came about... I was sitting there, and I was telling [Jay] one day, I just finally started telling him who I was," she said on the podcast. "Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live," she recalled telling Jay-Z.
"So my son started actually tearing. 'Cause he’s like, 'That had to be a horrible life, ma'. And I was like, 'My life was never horrible. It was just different. So that made him want to do a song about it," she continued.
Carter explained that she wasn't initially into Jay-Z's idea to open up about her sexuality on his album. "The first time I heard the song I was like, eh, I don't know dude. I ain't feeling that," she said. The D'USSE Friday hosts asked her what prompted those feelings, and she explained that when she came out to her son, it was to share herself with him, and not with the world.
Soon after, Carter came up with the poem that she wound up reading in "Smile," "Living In the Shadows." After showing it to Jay-Z, he asked her to read it out loud to him–and he was secretly recording it on his phone.
"So you didn't go into the studio to tape that part?" one of the hosts asked her. "No, no, I taped it on the phone!" she said with a laugh.
Jay-Z, you sly dog!
Carter also explained why she eventually decided to let Jay-Z produce the song, explaining that she was sick of the rumors that have been spread about her.
"I was like, you know what, so I’m tired of all the mystery. I’m gonna give it to ‘em. So you and I don’t have to worry about anybody wondering if I’m in the life or not," she said. "I'm gonna tell em, so now that I told you, what do you have to talk about? So now maybe you can focus on the phenomenal things I do...So now it's time for me to live my life, and be happy, be free."