Jay-Z will be using lyrics from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” according to Courtney Love. In a recent interview, Love shared that she has allowed Jay-Z to use the lyrics and that they are “friends.”
“I’m letting Jay-Z use lyrics – Francis [Kurt Cobain’s daughter] would freak [if she knew this.] Jay-Z’s huge and we’re friends,” she told the Huffington Post. “I mean we’re not besties or anything,” she clarified.
According to Love, Jay used the lyrics without asking first but later tied up loose ends on the business side of things.
“They [used it] without asking, which is kind of nervy but the business side has been taken care of so it’s fine.”
Courtney Love has covered Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” in the past. The song was played live by Love and a fan’s video of the performance can be viewed below, with Love using Jay’s rhymes while playing the guitar on stage.
Jay-Z has rhymed about Kurt Cobain in the past. On “Most Kings,” Jay said, “It’s best for those to not overdose on being famous. Most kings get driven so insane that they try to hit the same vein that Kurt Cobain did.” In his book, Decoded, Jay explained how he felt Cobain influenced the rhyme.
Kurt Cobain OD’d on heroin before committing suicide, but he also OD’d on fame. Cobain was like Basquiat: They both wanted to be famous, and were brilliant enough to make it happen. But then what? Drug addicts kill themselves trying to get that feeling they got from their first high, looking for an experience they’ll never get again. In his suicide note, Cobain asked himself, “Why don’t you just enjoy it?” and then answered, “I don’t know!” It’s amazing how much of a mindfuck success can be.
Jay also spoke about why he’s always been a fan of Kurt Cobain in a separate interview for Spin.
“First we got to go back to before Grunge and why Grunge happened. ‘Hair bands’ dominated the airwaves and Rock became more about looks than about actual substance and what it stood for—the rebellious spirit of youth….That’s why ‘Teen Spirit’ rang so loud because it was right on point with how everyone felt, you know what I’m saying? It was weird because Hip Hop was becoming this force, then Grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know? Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out; when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, ‘We got to wait awhile.'”
“I have always been a person who was curious about the music and when those forces come on the scene, they are inescapable. Can’t take your eyes off them, can’t stop listening to them. [Cobain] was one of those figures. I knew we had to wait for a second before we became that dominant force in music.”
Love has owned Nirvana’s catalog since the 1994 passing of Kurt Cobain. “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” featured on Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind, eventually went platinum. It became one of the most recognized Grunge songs of the era,
The song at hand could possibly land on Jay-Z’s highly anticipated album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, set to drop in July. The album has made headlines for what Jay-Z has called #newrules. The album will be available to one million Samsung users for free before it is released to the rest of the buying public.