Artist News

Jay-Z on Obama, and lyrics

By | Published on Tuesday 20 January 2009

Jay-Z has spoken to MTV News about his work on Young Jeezy’s ‘My President’ remix, in which he uses the lyric: “Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk/ Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run/ Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly”.

Jay-Z explained: “It’s just the progression … You sat, you walked, you ran, you ran to fly. You know, just the progression and how far we’ve come as a nation. It feels good to say that, ’cause I never had that type of feeling to say as a nation, like I was part of the American dream. And I believe a lot of people didn’t feel like a part of the American process for so long”.

Some reports say that Jay Z has borrowed the lyric from an email forward that was doing the rounds over the last few months, but others claim he coined the phrase.

CMU reported back at the start of November that he’d encouraged fans to vote by saying “I need y’all to be really, really quiet for this. I need you to really understand what I’m telling you. Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama’s running so we all can fly”, but I don’t know which came first, this email, or his saying it.

Anyway, here’s a bit more of Jay-Z talking about progress: “Now everyone’s included in the American process this great day. So that’s the progression and the process. Now there’s no excuses for anybody. Now you can look into a child’s eyes and say, ‘Get it together. You can be president.’ It’s not an easy thing, but it can happen. And we have evidence to the fact”.

Jay performed at a special Obama-celebrating gig in Washington last night ahead of the new prez’s inauguration later today.