• Jay Z and his mother, Gloria Carter. (WireImage)Source: WireImage
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian."
Michaela Morgan

3 Jul 2017 - 4:55 PM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2017 - 4:55 PM

Jay-Z and his mother Gloria Carter have collaborated on a song together for the new album, 4:44—the rapper’s first record since Magna Carter Holy Grail in 2013.

On the track "Smile", Jay-Z raps about his mother, who was forced to hide her sexuality while raising her children. 

“Push through the pain so we can see new life/So all the ladies havin’ babies, see a sacrifice,” he raps.

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian.

“Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take.”

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Jay-Z then adds how happy he was when his mother met her new partner. 

"Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her I just wanna see you smile through all the hate/Marie Antoinette, baby, let ’em eat cake.”

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The song—which samples Stevie Wonder’s "Love’s in Need of Love Today"—also features a moving spoken word outro by Gloria Carter, the first time she has come out publicly.

“Living in the shadows. Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? In the shadows people see you as happy and free. Because that’s what you want them to see. Living two lives, happy but not free," she says. 

“You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love. The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free.

“But you live with the fear of just being me. Living in the shadows feels like the safe place to be. No harm for them. No harm for me.

“But life is short, and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.


When asked about the song in an interview with iHeartRadio, Jay-Z said: “There are gonna be bad times, and those bad times can do two things: They can get you in a place where you’re stuck in a rut, or it can make your future that much better because you’ve experienced these things." 

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The rapper has previously come out in favour of same-sex marriage in 2012. 

“I’ve always thought [not allowing same-sex marriage] as something that was still, um, holding the country back,” he told CNN

“What people do in their own homes is their business, and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple.”