‘I will not be silenced’: ‘This was a very personal, very difficult time for me’
With his wife, Toni, on a plane bound for New York City, singer-songwriter Jay Z was on a business trip in China, when he heard that a pregnant woman had fallen ill and died.
His first instinct was to get a sample of the woman’s music to record the funeral, but the singer didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
He asked the woman what she wanted to hear about his song “I Am Not a Hip Hop Producer” and she told him she wanted a sample.
After some negotiating, Jay Z agreed to a sample that would be played in the funeral.
The final verse is a variation of the words he wrote on his “I AM NOT A HIP HOP PRODUCER” song: “I don’t want a dime, I don’t wanna hear a dime.
I wanna see the moon, I wanna feel the breeze.”
In the funeral song, the singer says he can’t do it alone: “When the time comes, I’ll tell the truth and I’ll do what I do best.
You’ll never hear me complain/ I will not lose you/ I’ll never give you up.
I will never let you go.”
After the funeral was over, the couple went to the funeral home to find out what they had done wrong.
They found a sample, which was played in front of the mourners, and Jay Z’s face was on the front of their coffin.
“It was like the world was upside down,” Toni said.
“We were really moved.
It felt so good, even though I was still grieving.
That’s when we started writing lyrics about how we felt and how we had to get over it.
We wanted to say that we’re sorry for what we did, and we’re going to try to find the courage to do better next time.”