On Friday, Jay-Z celebrated BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge’s 50-year anniversary by putting on a live performance for the ages. First, the rap icon performed 4:44‘s “Family Feud” with help from the live band and backing choir. Next was a rendition of “Numb/Encore” as a touching tribute to the recently-deceased Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington.
Jay also spoke with Radio 1’s Clara Amfo about the state of hip hop, Trump’s America, and his acclaimed new album.
Here are just a few highlights from the conversation:
“I was in the house, in the basement, just listening to the album and trying to add to it and created [“Family Feud”]. It was just a song about the, really about again, that family structure, ‘What’s better than one billionaire? Two.’ It’s just basically the family structure of you and your spouse, whomever you’re married to, and how you guys are stronger as a unit,” he said.
“I’m proud of this song because it happens on so many levels,” he continued. “That it also speaks to the culture — like, us working together. And how we, when we’re working together, we’re more powerful, and how we have this thing in hip hop where it’s like the older generation against the younger guys, and it’s like come on man. That’s so divisive, we’re not really moving forward, and we’re not going to have power that way. That’s how people separate us.”
Of the “Numb/Encore” performance, Jay opened up about Bennington’s tragic suicide: “That felt really special to me, that’s the first time I performed that song after, obviously after Chester passed away. Which was super tragic, and I really think that hopefully his death serves as a wakeup call,” he said. “Mental health is a real thing and you never know what people going through, and you think because they’re performers and he sold fourteen thousand million records that doesn’t equate to happiness. Money or fame doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy inside.”
See what else Jay had to say, as well as his incredible performance, below.