David Letterman sits down with JAY-Z on the upcoming new episode of his Netflix talk show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” and the discussion includes a brief moment where the rapper gets candid about his mother’s emotional coming out story. JAY-Z rapped about his mother coming out as gay on the “4:44” track “Smile,” and he explains to Letterman just how happy the experience made him.
“Imagine having lived your life for someone else. And you think you’re protecting your kids. And for my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn’t and hide and like, protect her kids — and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, and you know, for all this time,” JAY-Z said. “And for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone.’ I mean, I really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”
JAY-Z told Letterman that his mother spoke to him about her sexual orientation only eight months ago during the making of his album, “4:44.” The rapper admits he knew beforehand that his mother was gay, but that she never opened up to him about it one on one until last year.
“This was the first time we had the conversation,” JAY-Z explained. “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.”
Watch JAY-Z discuss his mother’s coming out story in the video below. The rapper’s episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” begins streaming on Netflix this Friday, April 6.