Jay-Z Explains Origin of ‘One-Take Hov’ Nickname: ‘I Didn’t Waste Time’

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You already knew that Jay-Z doesn’t write down any of his rhymes. But in a preview of his upcoming two-part interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings slated to air on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 26 and 27), the morning anchor takes a walk through the Brooklyn Public Library’s smash “Book of HOV” exhibit honoring the MC, where she discovers the origin story of Jigga’s famed “one-take HOV” nickname.


“This was when you were recording to actual tape. So, you can’t mess up, ‘cause then you got to go all the way back and cut the tape,” Jay explained as the pair stroll by a display of his master tapes. “That’s where the whole ‘One-Take HOV’ came from. Because if you wanted a fly chorus on this thing, you had to go to dinner. It took an engineer hours to cut the tape… fly it over here… So I start learning my lyrics really good so I could do them one time—you understand—straight down, and I didn’t waste time.”

On Monday, King teased another bit from the interview in which Jay finally settled a long-running social media debate that asks fans to choose between lunch with Jigga or a $500,000 check. “You’ve gotta take the money,” the rapper said, noting that his best fiscal wisdom in already in his work. “You’ve got all that in the music for $10.99… I wouldn’t tell you to cut a bad deal. Like, take the $500,000, go buy some albums, and listen to the albums,” he continued. “It’s all there. If you piece it together and really listen to the music for the words, well, what it is, it’s all there.”

The two-parter will feature a private tour of the library’s “Book of HOV” exhibit, which pays tribute to Jay’s sprawling career, from his Grammy-winning catalog to his landmark business deals in sports, music, alcohol, film and public service.

Check out a preview of the Jay-Z/King interview below.

In an exclusive interview and tour of @BKLYNlibrary’s Book of HOV exhibit with JAY-Z, the rapper told @GayleKing how he earned the nickname “One-take HOV,” while looking at a display of his masters.

Watch the interview Thursday and Friday on CBS Mornings. pic.twitter.com/XHI7ALhOuK

— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) October 24, 2023

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