Hov opened up about his middle school experience in a recent 'JAY-Z and Gayle King: Brooklyn's Own' special on CBS and Paramount+
JAY-Z has always been ahead of his time.
During the hour-long CBS interview special JAY-Z and Gayle King: Brooklyn's Own earlier this week, the rap icon recalled earning praise from a teacher in middle school for his ability to read at a high school student's level.
"So, Miss Loudon was my sixth-grade teacher. In the sixth grade, I was readin' on a 12th-grade level," said JAY-Z, 53. "That excited me, 'cause everyone was excited, and Miss Loudon, she was excited."
Hov continued, "It felt like me riding my bike at four, the way people reacted to that."
In the special, the "99 Problems" rapper also opened up about growing up in Brooklyn, New York's public Marcy Houses complex and watching the development become popular from his association.
"The fact that people go there and, like, take pictures in front of this is just amazing to me ‘cause this, you know, the Marcy Houses that I grew up, it was not a tourist attraction," JAY-Z told host Gayle King.
The interview took place in the Brooklyn Library's new Book of HOV exhibit centered around the rapper's music, business ventures and philanthropic work. He spoke to King about how the focus of his career has shifted since he's gone from simply a rap musician to a mogul.
"I think what matters most is, today, is, being a beacon and helping out … my culture. People of color. I think I pull the most satisfaction from that," said JAY-Z.
He noted that music was his "first love" and explained how his creative approach inspired some of the work he does today, such as co-founding REFORM Alliance, an organization focused on probation, parole, and sentencing reform in the United States.
"[Music] consumed me. Just finding words and figuring out words and how to say this and different ways to say that and different pockets and melodies and how to write this song," said the Grammy winner. "That’s why my pace was so fast. I had so much material."
JAY-Z continued, "I think now, you know, the idea of taking that platform and reproducing it for others or doing something like REFORM ... I think I derive the most joy from that."
JAY-Z and Gayle King: Brooklyn's Own is currently available to stream on Paramount+.
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