Jay-Z Says Nirvana “Stopped Hip-Hop For A Second” With Grunge Movement


When Jay-Z speaks, the world listens—probably because he’s always spitting nothing but the truth.

Fresh out of Pharrell’s upcoming conversation-piece book, Pharrell: The Places and Spaces I’ve Been, Hov gives his “humble” opinion on iconic grunge band Nirvana, specifically their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the movement they created.

See a narration of the opening chapter below, via SPIN:

“So, where were you mentally and physically when grunge music hit?” Pharrell asks Jay-Z. “Like where were you when you first heard, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit?'”

“First we got to go back to before grunge and why grunge happened,” reasons Jay. “‘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, you know what I’m saying?”

Jay-Z then goes on to say that grunge actually stalled the rise of hip-hop in popular culture. “It was weird because hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know?” he says. “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.'”

“I have always been a person who was curious about the music and when those forces come on the scene, they are inescapable,” Jay says. “Can’t take your eyes off them, can’t stop listening to them. [Cobain] was one of those figures. I knew we had to wait for a second before we became that dominant force in music.”

We got to say, Hov has a good point here. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t feeling the “teen angst” when Nirvana dropped “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

You can read the full version of Pharrell: The Places and Spaces I’ve Been when it hit stores October 16.