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Jay-Z Receives Clearance to Use Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on ‘Holy Grail’

Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Jay-Z’s new album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail,’ is scheduled to be released July 4, and the anticipation for the album is at an all-time high, even without a single being released yet. One song that has fans excited is ‘Holy Grail,’ which samples Nirvana’s classic track, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

Out of nowhere, the rapper released the lyrics for ‘Holy Grail,’ which also features Justin Timberlake. The single details Hov’s struggles with fame and what it has done to some of the biggest personalities in pop culture.

The surprise is in the lyrics, which is a take on one of the most popular parts of Nirvana’s 1991’s smash hit. “And we all just / Entertainers / And we’re stupid / And contagious,” Jay rhymes. The band’s lead singer, Kurt Cobain, is also mentioned in the song. Cobain was found dead in his home in 1994, due to an apparent suicide.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Courtney Love, Cobain’s wife at the time of his death, approved the sample, allowing Jay-Z to use the lyrics on ‘Holy Grail.’ However, she says he didn’t ask for permission in the first place.

“They [used it] without asking,” she said. “Which is kind of nervy but the business side has been taken care of so it’s fine.”

Jay-Z
Jay-Z

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