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New Jay-Z Song ‘Holy Grail’ Borrows Lyrical Inspiration From Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

Kurt Cobain Jay-Z
Jeff Kravitz / Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

Kurt Cobain and Nirvana have paved the way for many musicians that came in their wake, but fans might be surprised to know who the latest artist is to draw inspiration from the works of Cobain and Nirvana.

When hip-hop mega-star Jay-Z’s new disc ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ drops on July 4, some of the lyrics to the track called ‘Holy Grail’ might sound familiar. That’s because Cobain’s widow Courtney Love gave Jay-Z permission to use the lyrics from the classic Nirvana song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

As seen on the lyric sheet below revealed as part of the Samsung Galaxy App that is integrated with the pre-release of Jay-Z’s new disc, the song plays off of the familiar lyrics, putting a new twist on them: ‘And we all just / Entertainers / And we’re stupid / And contagious.’

The song, which features Justin Timberlake, also contains the lines ‘I know nobody to blame / Kurt Cobain / I did it to myself,’ but Jay-Z has yet to comment on the meaning behind the song.

In an interview with Huffington Post, Courtney Love talked about letting Jay-Z take some liberties with the song, saying, “I’m letting Jay-Z use lyrics – Frances would freak [if she knew this.] Jay-Z’s huge and we’re friends. I mean we’re not besties or anything….” Love then revealed that Jay-Z incorporated the lyrics into the song first before asking for her permission. “They [used it] without asking, which is kind of nervy but the business side has been taken care of so it’s fine.” So whether the song was used with or without permission, it seems to have Love’s blessing now.

Jay-Z ‘Holy Grail’ Lyric Sheet:

 

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