Jay-Z: “Nirvana Stopped Hip Hop…”
Credit where credit’s due. As part of Pharrell Williams‘ upcoming coffee table book The Places and Spaces I’ve Been, Skateboard P shares impressions from his conversations with illustrious personalities like Aldrin, Kanye West, Anna Wintour, NIGO and even Jay-Z to name a few. While a large portion of the conversations deal about daily routines, Jay-Z offers an interesting interpretation of the impact of Nirvana‘s timeless single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and grunge itself as a genre had on hip-hop:
“First we got to go back to before grunge and why grunge happened. Hair bands’ dominated the airwaves and rock became more about looks than about actual substance and what it stood for—the rebellious spirit of youth….That’s why “Teen Spirit” rang so loud because it was right on point with how everyone felt, you know what I’m saying?
It was weird because hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know? Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out; when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, “We got to wait awhile.” I have always been a person who was curious about the music and when those forces come on the scene, they are inescapable. Can’t take your eyes off them, can’t stop listening to them. [Cobain] was one of those figures. I knew we had to wait for a second before we became that dominant force in music.”
The dialogue further encompasses subjects like ’90s hip-hop, the passing of The Notorious B.I.G., the key to creating a great record, and much more. Pharrell’s The Places and Spaces I’ve Been will be available October 16 through Rizzoli, and pre-orders are available now through Amazon.