The internet was celebrating Jay Z‘s 49th birthday on Tuesday with the #HovDay hashtag. There is much to celebrate, as the iconic rapper has been killing the rap game for over two decades. He has also branded himself beyond music, venturing into the corporate world, films and activism.
The 21-time Grammy winner has certainly grown into being woke. After famously being slammed by Harry Belafonte in 2013 for not being socially aware, the rapper clapped back with, “I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is.”
It was a cringe-worthy line and earlier this year, Jay said he regretted the response.
“I wish I hadn’t said [what I said then] because again, he’s someone who’s done so much work and I feel like what I felt about what he said should have been taken care of in-house, because we could’ve straightened each other out with a phone call without being on the record, or being on a record,” he said.
It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong, which is why Jay has evolved into one of the most woke rappers we have today.
In honor of his 49th birthday, check out Jay’s most conscious quotes, from politics to his own ambitions.