James Hibberd
April 03, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT

Jay-Z opens up to David Letterman about his mom coming out as gay on the next episode of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

The rapper has a song about the moment on last year’s album 4:44, which included the track “Smile,” about his mother, Gloria Carter, coming out publicly as a lesbian.

“Imagine having lived your life for someone else. And you think you’re protecting your kids. And for my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn’t and hide and like, protect her kids — and didn’t want to embarrass her kids, and you know, for all this time. And for her to sit in front of me and tell me, ‘I think I love someone.’ I mean, I really cried. That’s a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free.”

Letterman: “And how old were you when that happened?”

Jay-Z: “This happened eight months ago, when the album was being made. Like, she just told me. I made the song the next day.” 

Letterman: “I’m sorry, this is when you learned your mother was gay?” 

Jay-Z: “No, I knew. But this was the first time we had the conversation. And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner. Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody.’ She said, ‘I feel like.’ She held that little bit back, still. She didn’t say, ‘I’m in love,’ she said, ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just, I cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is. What is that?”  

The Jay-Z episode begins streaming globally on Netflix on Friday, April 6.

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