Bruce Springsteen admits that he is not “well-versed” in Hip Hop, but he recently discussed the various artists within the genre that he appreciates. In a recent interview, which was published by NPR, Springsteen references several rappers, Rap songs and explains his appreciation for many emcees. During the conversation, Springsteen is asked if Hip Hop is a culture that he’s embraced over the years.
“Well, it was so present,” Springsteen says in the piece. “At one moment particularly you had [Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel’s] ‘White Lines [Don’t Don’t Do It]’ and this was stuff that was talking about what was going on in the streets and in the inner cities with people who were struggling. And that was something that, I mean, I had my own context for that, you know, that I wrote about it in my own way. But it was the music that came along and gave voice to those things outside of what was then considered a protest music context, you know, and did so really beautifully. And so, you know, I’m not well-versed in it but I have listened over the years. You know, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., I listened to Tupac, I listen to Kanye West. Kanye West is incredible, you know. I mean, the record-making facility, you know, there’s a lot of hours in those records.
“I mean some of these, there’s like, just the production,” Springsteen continues. “I saw [West] on television. He did the song called ‘Blood on the Leaves’ … It was fantastic. He’s a very, I still find him very interesting. I’m not necessarily driving [to] it in my car, you know. I probably fall back on the stuff that I listened to as a kid or something if I’m driving around. But I do listen. I listen to a lot because there’s a lot of information in it and it’s just fascinating record-making.”
During the interview, Springsteen also spoke about the 2012 Barack Obama campaign concert that featured him along with Jay Z.
“Jay Z and I performed together for President Obama in Ohio and we were both on the same bill,” Springsteen says in the interview. “I was playing acoustic and he had his group, you know. And the audience was filled with some of his fans and some of my fans. And his was a big arena — it was like 20,000 people. There were actually some people who’d probably come to see the president, right? So I’m coming out first and I’m gonna play acoustically and it was, you know, I thought ‘Promised Land’ and I thought maybe ‘Land of Hopes and Dreams.’ And it was fascinating as I watched the crowd who — I knew a lot of them had not heard my music before — but who understood the language I was speaking in because it was very gospel-based — you know, ‘Promised Land’ — and the issues that were involved. So that was a fascinating afternoon. It was a great afternoon for me because I got to stand onstage and there were young black kids and there were some older black folks. It was very, you know, multiracial and it was just a great afternoon. And I got to watch people sort of experience some of this, my songs in their bare bones for the first time.”