JAY-Z rarely talks to the press but granted a rare video interview to the The Sunday Times last week. During the conversation, the billionaire Hip Hop mogul opened up about fame, life during the pandemic and his various business endeavors. But for some reason, an 11-year-old interview he did with The Wall Street Journal was simultaneously dredged up on social media in which he talked about the lack of “profound lyrics” in some of his older work, specifically “Big Pimpin’.”
JAY-Z released the song in 2000 as the third single from his fourth studio album, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. Featuring UGK’s Bun B and Pimp C, the track peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Rhythmic Top 40 chart, helping propel the album to triple-platinum status. But with lyrics such as, “It’s big pimpin’ baby/It’s big pimpin’, spendin’ G’s/Feel me uh-huh uh, uh-huh,” Hov wasn’t exactly impressed with his pen game on that particular track.
“That’s the exception,” he said in the 2010 interview. “It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.”
But as several publications presented JAY-Z’s “Big Pimpin’” comments as something new, there were plenty of people who were quick to point out just how old it was.
“This is being reported as new when it’s actually from a 2010 Wall Street Journal interview where JAY-Z talked about his book Decoded and his songwriting,” a tweet from the JAY-Z Daily account read. “No where did he say he regrets making ‘Big Pimpin’ He has performed the song countless times since then.”
This is being reported as new when it’s actually from a 2010 Wall Street Journal interview where JAY-Z talked about his book Decoded and his songwriting. No where did he say he regrets making “Big Pimpin'”
JAY-Z didn’t even speak on the song in 2018 when he was sued over copyright infringement for allegedly biting an Egyptian composer’s song for “Big Pimpin’.” According to Reuters, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California ruled 3-0 the nephew of the late composer Baligh Hamdy didn’t have legal standing to pursue copyright claims over his uncle’s 1957 song “Khosara Khosara.”
Although JAY-Z walked away victorious, he had nothing to say on the matter.
Despite JAY-Z’s previous sentiments about the song, it’s still one of his biggest hits. Since “Big Pimpin’” and Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter, he’s gone on to release nine more studio albums, including 2001’s The Blueprint, 2003’s The Black Album and 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail. His latest, 4:44, arrived in 2017 and featured songs such as “The Story Of O.J.” and “Bam” with special guest Damian Marley.
In the aforementioned interview with The Times, JAY-Z talked about his legacy and revealed he wants to be remembered like Damian’s father, the great reggae legend Bob Marley.
“I’m not beyond ego, right?” he said. “Hopefully they speak of me [with] the names of Bob Marley and all the greats. But that’s not for me to say. I’m most proud of overcoming my circumstances and providing opportunity for people who look like me and who came from the same situation that I’ve come from.”
Read the full interview here and read the “Big Pimpin” lyrics via Genius below.