June 21, 2013


Courtney Love: Jay-Z Used "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Lyrics on New Album

Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

We don't know much about Jay-Z's new album Magna Carta Holy Grail 95 Theses Shroud of Turin other than the first million "sales" won't be counted on the Billboard 200. But as the July 4 release date approaches, dribs and drabs are starting to come out. The first quasi-bombshell? Courtney Love telling Huffington Post that she allowed the rapper to use lyrics from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his new album.

"I'm letting Jay-Z use lyrics - [Kurt's daughter] Francis would freak [if she knew this]," said the singer. "Jay-Z's huge and we're friends. I mean we're not besties or anything....They [used it] without asking, which is kind of nervy but the business side has been taken care of, so it's fine."

Love doesn't say which particular lyrics were used. Or how. Or if it will even make the final cut. So yeah, still a lot of questions here. "My libido" in reference to a sex song? "Load up on guns" to explain Jay-Z's possible new anti-government, pro-militia stance? "Mosquitos," a new track about bloodsuckers in the music industry?

What we do know is that the rapper has a long history with the grunge classic. In 2009, the rapper's band incorporated the song as part of his live show. Last October, Pharrell published Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been, in which Jigga told the producer about the song's impact on music. 

"First we got to go back to before grunge and why grunge happened," said Jay (via Spin). "'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?" he says. "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.'"

We'll find out soon enough.

Jay-Z - "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ending