The morning news host opens up about her viral interview with JAY-Z.
Gayle King has interviewed many renowned public figures and famous faces, but her latest sit-down ranks among her most sought-after.
In a special interview for CBS Mornings that aired Tuesday, the award-winning journalist sat down with JAY-Z, who opened up about his journey to superstardom as he and King explored the Brooklyn Public Library's Book of Hov Exhibit, reflecting on growing up in Brooklyn, making a name for himself, and his life now, as a father of three, husband to Beyoncé, and an icon.
Titled Brooklyn's Own, the one-hour special gives fans a rare look into the rapper's insight as he takes King through a retrospective of his life. JAY-Z talks with King about growing up in the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, facing some difficult issues and how music was his path out. The 53-year-old opens up about his business career, how he makes music and the stories behind some of his famous lyrics.
It's a rare moment of vulnerability and candidness for the GRAMMY winner, who rarely gives lengthy interviews. When ET asked King what it was like speaking with the Roc Nation founder, she shared that she's still in shock that their conversation went on for three hours instead of the expected one.
"He wasn't feeling that well, he had a terrible cold, [and] we thought we'd have an hour with him. He ended up having three and I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did," King tells ET. "It's really an amazing journey to see his life at the Brooklyn Public Library for free, and to see all the exhibits. What's great is even he had no idea it was going to be that grand and it's so well deserved and so on point. I can't wait for people to see that special."
King previously revealed that JAY-Z's team arranged the exhibit as a tribute to him, leaving the rapper completely surprised when he learned about the exhibit.
The CBS Mornings co-host admits that she has "admired" JAY-Z for "a very long time," and was surprised by how open the rapper was during their time together. "For him to sit down and talk to us in the way he did -- he was so candid, he was so thoughtful, he was so reflective of all the things he's done in his life. We got to see him talk about being a proud father and a proud husband, all of the above, and [delve into] his business mind, [like] why he does what he does," she adds.
King shares how JAY-Z lights up when talking about his family, especially the recent accomplishments of his wife and eldest daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.
"What struck me most is how proud he is, like most good husbands and fathers are of their partners and their children," King tells ET. " And when he talks about them, you can just see him beaming. He tells us about where Blue got her name... He said Beyoncé's Renaissance Tour -- and on this we all agree -- was the best thing she's ever done, and he went to damn near every single show because he wanted to cheer her on and support her. But even when he talks about her, [I saw] the way his voice and the way his face changes."
Though she hasn't even entered her teens yet, Blue has already earned a GRAMMY award and starred in a global tour, her mother's recent history-making jaunt around the world in support of her seventh studio album, the Renaissance World Tour.
Fans have been given a firsthand look at Blue's talent as she has taken the stage alongside her mother, making her mark during one of this year's biggest tours, as she appears alongside her mother during the performance of "My Power."
"For me, this was her best tour," JAY-Z tells King in their interview. "It's hard to really compare them because they all have different things of genius. But this one, to me, felt like the most complete."
The proud papa shares that he watched with "goosebumps" as his daughter determinedly faced the crowds despite her nerves. "Blue's been born into this world that she didn't ask. She's been born into a life she didn't ask for. So since she was born she's been in, like, scrutiny and public eye, and everyone having an opinion," JAY-Z explains. "I know how nervous she was. I know how frightened she was. And she wanted to do it."
He continues, "She wanted to do it the first night, and we was like, 'OK, if this is something you wanna do, you can't just go out there. You gotta go work with the dancers, and go work.' And she worked every day and we watched her work hard. She had a little icy pack thing on her back some days."
"So for her to be on that stage and reclaim her power and the song is called 'My Power' -- you can't write a better script," the rapper says.
King recalls JAY-Z's proud expression while he shared Blue's determination to join her mother onstage, telling ET that although she noted that the 11-year-old didn't look nervous, JAY-Z simply responded, "I know her."
The morning show host admitted that their interview, which took place inside of the Brooklyn Public Library's Book of Hov Exhibit, came after "several very annoying asks" as JAY-Z doesn't do many interviews.
"I begged and graveled," she admits.
It was worth it to hear the music mogul's story from his own lips. "I just think the way he was raised plays a part in everything that he does today, and he sits here today, really at the top of his game, and is still trying to figure out what's the next level," King says. "He says often throughout the interview that what he wants to do is help others. He knows what he represents in the culture and he wants to make sure that the culture is well represented, and that's what he does."
The rapper says in the primetime special: "I think what matters most is, today, is being a beacon and helping out ... my culture. People of color. I think I pull the most satisfaction from that. Like making music earlier was, like, my first love. I could sit there for hours. It consumed me. Just finding words and figuring out words and how to say this and different ways to say that and different pockets and melodies and how to write this song."
"That consumed me. That's why my pace was so fast. I had so much material ... And I think now, you know, the idea of taking that platform and, you know, reproducing it for others or doing something like [the REFORM Alliance] ... I think I derive the most joy from that."
JAY-Z and Gayle King: Brooklyn's Own is available to stream on Paramount+.