Jay-Z has started—and ended—a lot of trends. At one time, the man could probably convince you to throw on a Rocawear poncho, for chrissake. So when I first peeped flicks of him and Oprah Winfrey roaming his old Brooklyn stomping grounds this past weekend for an article in an upcoming issue of her O magazine, I wondered: Is Hov the final cosign needed for hip-hop to accept Oprah?
Her relationship with the culture has been rocky, at best. She’s invited Kanye West to her show, but snubbed Ice Cube for an appearance; admitted to loading up 50 Cent’s “In The Club” on her iPod, yet felt Fif’s wrath on tracks like “Play This On The Radio.” Oprah’s spoken out against misogyny in rap lyrics, while her name’s been used as punchline fodder about moving weight and getting way more money than you.
But honestly, what global icon is more hip-hop than Oprah Winfrey? OK—besides that Barack guy. Oprah grew up in the sticks of Mississippi in the ‘60s, which would probably make the modern-day trap look like Six Flags by comparison. Yet from that, she’s become a self-made billionaire and bona fide trendsetter. A single endorsement from Big O is worth more than a year of Nas’ child-support payments. Plus, she’s got a history with beef—the 1996 episode of her talk show about mad cow disease caused a four-year legal spat with the cattle industry. No “Free Oprah” tees, though.
When the issue of O magazine drops, with a story on Jay-Z, it’ll be the most hard-edged rapper Oprah’s featured in her magazine or her show. She called into BFF Gayle King’s satellite radio show yesterday to talk about her two-hour BK meeting with Jay, saying, “I feel like I met a new friend.” So what says you, hip-hop? Do we have a new friend in Oprah, too? –JFK