It seems Jay-Z used Nirvana lyrics without permission - good job Courtney Love agreed to it.
Jay-Z raps the lyrics of late rocker Kurt Cobain on new track 'Holy Grail,' from his forthcoming new album 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'. The hip-hop superstar was granted permission to use words from Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit by Cobain's widow Courtney Love, who is notoriously cautious of requests to sample the band's work.
Jay-Z Sings The Lyrics Of Kurt Cobain On 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'
Jay-Z sings the lines "and we all just / entertainers / and we're stupid / and contagious," as the hook on Holy Grail, a collaboration with Justin Timberlake. Though not verbatim, the words are similar to those on Smells Like Teen Spirit, when Cobain sings, "'Here we are now / entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious." Elsewhere on the track, Jay-Z references the late Nirvana frontman by name, rapping, "Momma please just get my bail / I know nobody to blame / Kurt Cobain / I did it to myself."
Courtney Love has conceded that her decision to let the hip-hop heavyweight use the lyrics may not be popular with everyone, especially her and Kurt's daughter Frances Bean Cobain. "I'm letting Jay-Z use lyrics - Francis would freak [if she knew this.] Jay-Z's huge and we're friends. I mean we're not besties or anything...." she explained during an interview with the Huffington Post. As a matter of fact, Love - who owns the Nirvana catalogue - says Jay-Z used the lyrics without asking, though added, "...the business side has been taken care of so it's fine."
Courtney Love Eventually Granted Jay-Z Permission To Use Lyrics From 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
'Magna Carta Holy Grail,' the twelfth studio album by Jay-Z, is scheduled for release on July 4, 2013, through Roc-A-Fella and Roc Nation.