One of the most powerful tracks on JAY-Z’s album 4:44 is ‘Smile’, which features his mom.
On it, Hov speaks on Gloria Carter’s sexual identity, which he says they both hid over the years.
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 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,” Jay raps.It turns out Hov didn't have his mom's approval when he first recorded 'Smile'.
“We just had a beautiful conversation and it led to me making the song, and I didn’t have permission to make the song,” JAY admitted during a Rap Rader interview.. “When she first heard the song, she was like, ‘Absolutely not,’ and I was like, ‘Man, this is so important.’ So many people in the world hiding and things like this and this will help you … That’s how we spoke about that song. I was just so happy at the person she become … It’s one of my proudest songs."However, Mrs. Carter eventually let him use her story -- and even added a spoken word outro to the track.
“It’s a beautiful story,” he continued “I was just so proud. I’ve always had love for my mother. I always looked up to her. Man, she’s so fucking dope. My mom has been dope her whole life. She’s just a dope person. Listen to her, she sounds like Maya Angelou. Her pacing, her voice is just so regal. She’s a speaker. Our relationship developed to another level as I started getting to know myself.”