JAY-Z may have kept mum about his mother during his recent in-depth interview on the Rap Radar Podcast, but Gloria Carter herself opened up about 4:44 during an appearance on the D’Usse Friday podcast earlier this week. At one point in the hour-long conversation, Mrs. Carter recalls coming out to her son, her reaction the first time she heard “Smile” (“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian”) and how her appearance on the song came about.
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“Me and my son, we share a lot of information. I was sitting there one day and I just finally started telling [Jay] who I was. Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live. So my son started actually tearing, ‘Cause he’s like, ‘That had to be a horrible life, Ma’. I was like, ‘My life was never horrible. It was just…different.’ So that made him want to do a song about it.”
“The first time I heard the song I was like, ‘ahhh, I ain’t feeling that.’ When it first happened, I was sharing myself with you, not to share myself with the world. We talked about it and then I was going out to see him. I was on the plane like, ‘okay, I’ma help him.’ I wrote that [outro] while I was on the plane going to L.A. He was like, ‘Wow.’ I started reading it and he was taping me…I was never ashamed of me.”
Listen to the full Gloria Carter episode below, and jump to the 24-minute mark to hear her talk about “Smile” and 4:44.