Jay-Z: Kurt Cobain ‘Stopped’ Hip-Hop

Hip hop may be a dominant force in entertainment right now, but for a time, grunge ruled America’s youth culture. Jay-Z, one of hip hop’s longest reigning stars, complimented Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain with the stemming of the hip-hop tide during the early 90’s. Hov’s comments come through a conversation with Pharrell Williams, detailed in Pharrell’s new book, “Pharrell: People And Places I’ve Been.”

“It was weird because hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know? Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out,” an excerpt from the book reads. “When Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, ‘We got to wait awhile.'”

Jay-Z identifies himself as a fan of Cobain, and tied grunge’s success to the lack of soul in late 80’s “hair rock.” When Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit, it had an impact that extended beyond genre.

“First we got to go back to before grunge and why grunge happened,” the superstar explained. “‘Hair bands’ dominated the airwaves 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.”

The conversation between Jay-Z and Pharrell opens the new book, and goes on to topics like the death of the Notorious B.I.G, 90s hip-hop and the crafting of a good album. Due for release on Oct. 16, People and Places I’ve Been starts out with some attention grabbing comments.

Jay-Z also announced that his recent performances at Brooklyn’s brand new Barclays Center will be compiled into an album. The eight-song offering titled Live in Brooklyn should be available via iTunes this week, with the current release date marked as Oct. 10. The digital package will include videos of the performances as well.

Back to top