We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably did not know about Jay Z, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about the rapper and entrepreneur that you definitely (probably) did not know below. You might be surprised by what you find out!
Number Eight: He Memorizes His Lyrics. Rather than write his lyrics down, Jay remembers all of the lyrics he writes in his head, and it’s in his head where he keeps them until he goes into the studio.
Number Seven: He Knows That Practice Makes Perfect. For Jay’s 1996 album titled Reasonable Doubt, he wanted to make sure his performance of “Regrets” was as spot-on as possible. To ensure this, he practiced saying the word “opium “for an hour.
Number Six: He Helped Boost Mash-Up Culture. Danger Mouse used Jay’s work to create The Grey Album, which was a mash-up of Jay’s Black Album with The Beatles’ The White Album. The album is credited with introducing mash-ups into mainstream culture.
Number Five: He Carried a Gun in a VHS Box. When Jay was still hustling on the street, he used to conceal the gun he carried in a VHS box.
Number Four: He Has Fans in High Places. One of Jay’s most prominent fans is president Barack Obama. At a 2008 rally, Obama imitated the “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” move, and Jay even worked on a diss track against Mitt Romney for Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Number Three: He Turned a Negative Into a Positive With The Blueprint. The Blueprint was released on September 11, 2001, so it’s no surprise that many people expected it to totally flop. However, the album actually sold 420,000 copies in its first week and was credited as being an escape from the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks.
Number Two: He Has Covered All Sorts of Genres. When opening a set in Glastonbury in 2008, Jay performed a cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” The song was an unexpected choice for him, and Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher called the performance “pretty funny.”
Number One: He Has Historic Influences. Rather than be influenced by older musicians, one of Jay’s biggest influences is actually Homer’s Odyssey. He says he is inspired by the piece because it has a “beautiful rhythm.”