Jay Z revealed his mother is a lesbian on his new album 4:44.
The superstar made the revelation about Gloria Carter in the lyrics to the soulful track Smile.
‘Mama had four kids but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long, that she’s a thespian,’ raps Jay Z, who has spoken of how his father’s absence contributed to his troubled youth in public housing in Brooklyn.
‘Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her / I just want to see you smile through all the hate,’ he raps.
In doing so, the husband of Beyonce confirms for the first time hushed rumors about his mother’s sexuality. He also explains how she turned to substances to cope with the stigma.
Smile opens with a snippet from Stevie Wonder and closes with a poem by Gloria herself, who recites: ‘The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free / But you live with the fear of just being me.’
Jay Z, like many rappers of his generation, employed homophobic slurs in his early music but was also one of the first prominent voices in hip hop to speak out in favour of gay rights.
Jay Z elsewhere throws veiled barbs at other rappers, including onetime protege Kanye West, who last year ranted against Jay Z and in support of then President-elect Donald Trump before entering a hospital.
The rapper has especially harsh words for the estate of pop icon Prince, a longtime rebel in the music industry, who had signed a deal with Tidal shortly before his death.
He denounces the ‘greedy bastards’ who have commercialized Prince with moves such as bringing his catalogue onto leading streaming service Spotify.