Jay-Z seems to excel at everything he tries. As a rapper, Jigga's track record is impeccable and his accomplishments as a businessman have kept Hov hovering around the top of various Forbes lists for almost 10 years now. But how will Jay, who seems to do so many things so well fare at fatherhood? It's a topic the mogul tackles in a cover story in GQ magazine's "Men of the Year" issue.
"Providing — that's not love," Jay says. "Being there — that's more important. I mean, we see that. We see that with all these rich socialites. They're crying out for attention; they're hurting for love. I'm not being judgmental — I'm just making an observation," Jay, who was anointed the mag's King of the Year, tells writer Alex Pappademas. "They're crying out for the love that maybe they didn't get at home, and they got everything,all the material things that they need and want. So we know that's not the key."
The soon to be 42-year-old rapper graces the cover of the December issue, which hit newsstands on November 22, wearing a black suit, a matching skinny tie and sporting a grin. It's a familiar look for Jigga, but the feature story reveals someone new: Big Poppa Jay.
The Roc Nation boss' complex relationship with his absentee dad factors into his own views on becoming a papi, and it's a topic he tackled on his 2000 The Dynasty album ("Where Have You Been"), his '03 "retirement" LP The Black Album ("December 4" and "Moment of Clarity") and, most recently, on "New Day," a standout track off of his and Kanye West's Watch the Throne.
On "New Day," the duo rap hypothetically about fatherhood, except that now for Jay, life will imitate art. When the Throne wrote the song, Jay explains to GQ that he and wife Beyoncé were not yet expecting. The RZA-produced track finds Jay vowing not to do what was done to him as a child: "Promise to never leave him, even if his mama tweakin'/ 'Cause my dad left me and left me and I promise to never repeat him."
"My dad was such a good dad that when he left, he left a huge scar. He was my superhero," Jay says in the interview.
But does being a dad mean Jigga will lose his swag? Not in the least. While Jay does admit he will change diapers and strap the baby seat in the Maybach, the hip-hop icon also promises to play rap classics like Reasonable Doubt, Ready to Die and Illmatic for his kid — when the time is appropriate of course.