Jay-Z paid a visit to David Letterman at The Late Show studios in NYC last night. The rapper is out and about promoting his book Decode, and he chatted with David about his start in music and the first time he saw someone performing — check out an excerpt of his interview, which shows some of Jay's amazing laugh, after the jump. Jay-Z is busy chatting up his new publication, but he's recently found time to toast a just-signed artist on his label and have date nights with his high-earning wife, Beyoncé Knowles. He also granted an interview yesterday to NPR's Fresh Air, talking to host Terry Gross about losing lyrics, growing up in the projects, and George W. Bush taking offense to Kanye West's 2005 allegation that the former president didn't care about black people. Jay said:
- On forgetting his lines: "I've lost plenty of material. It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material . . . Think about when you can't remember a word and it drives you crazy. So imagine forgetting an entire rhyme. 'What's that? I said I was the greatest something?'"
- On life in the Marcy Projects: "I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice — anything just to get a paper bag. And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook. As I got further and further away from home and my notebook, I had to memorize these rhymes — longer and longer and longer . . . By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper — my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape."
- On Kanye's comments about President Bush: "First, I find it strange, like everyone else should, that one of his lowest points was somebody talking about him . . . He's the president. People should insult him a lot. That's part of the job description . . . Kanye really spoke what everyone else felt."
To see Jay-Z chatting about life in Brooklyn with David, just