Excerpts have surfaced, via Spin, from the new coffee-table book Pharrell: The Places and Spaces, which features singer-producer Pharrell Williams interviewing Jay-Z. When asked about the grunge era, Jay Z explains that not only did Kurt Cobain put an end to hair metal, but he also stalled the hip hop movement.
“Hair bands dominated the airwaves [in the late 80s] and rock became more about looks than about actual substance and what it stood for — the rebellious spirit of youth… That’s why ‘Teen Spirit’ rang so loud because it was right on point with how everyone felt… It was weird because hip hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second… Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out; when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, ‘We got to wait awhile.'”
Jay Z went on to explain that he even knew at the time that hip hop would have to wait before becoming the dominant force in the music scene.
“I have always been a person who was curious about the music and when those forces come on the scene, they are inescapable…[Cobain] was one of those figures. I knew we had to wait for a second before we became that dominant force in music.”
Last night Jay Z performed at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, surprising everyone in the audience (and Internet) in the process with a guest performance from his wife, Beyoncé. You can watch footage of the performance here.