Jay-Z Explains Why He’ll Never Sell His Masters

In a rare two-part interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings, Jay-Z discussed his illustrious career and explained why reclaiming his master recordings was such a pivotal moment for him.

Selling rights to one’s music became increasingly popular in 2021, with notable artists like Metro Boomin, Justin Bieber, Future, and even Dr. Dre divesting partial or complete rights to their catalogs.

While Jay-Z understands the recent trend, he made it clear that he no longer needs to sell his publishing, revealing that obtaining the rights to his music was one of the most challenging battles of his career.

“I understand why people do it,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to make money in this industry, but for me, [that] was the fight of my life.”


He continued, “From starting off as an independent company and then going through the Def Jam system, not really understanding how it works and them having my masters, then going back to Def Jam as the president and saying, ‘Okay, I’ll do this job, but on the condition that my masters revert to me.'”

Jay-Z, who is a father to Blue Ivy and twins Sir and Rumi, hopes to one day pass his masters down to his children, noting that “if they decide to sell it, that’s their choice.”

In another part of the interview with Gayle King, the 24-time Grammy Award-winning emcee revealed what it would take to get him back in the studio:

“I’ll say I want to make music, but it has to be something important,” he shared. “I don’t want to just make a bunch of tunes. That’s not going to serve me. It won’t feed me, first of all. … I have to be saying something important. It has to mean something, you know? It has to mean something to a larger society.”

Watch the first part of Jay-Z’s interview with Gayle King below.

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