When you're accustomed to wealth, you don't show it, right? That's why the white kids in school could wear bummy sneakers; it's almost like, 'Don't show wealth - that's crass.'

I'll make a song with Rick Rubin, a song with Beyonce, a song with Lenny Kravitz. I just believe in making good music. I'm not trying to section myself off into just making hard-core rap music.

Racism is taught in the home. We agree on that? Well, it's very hard to teach racism to a teenager who's listening to rap music and who idolizes, say, Snoop Dogg. It's hard to say, 'That guy is less than you.' The kid is like, 'I like that guy, he's cool. How is he less than me?

My first album didn't come out until I was 26.

Some people are attracted to vulnerability. From my very first album, I've been vulnerable. I've always given parts of me, parts of my life - good, bad, ugly. I've never put up this image as a super-thug. Also, some people just like the music.

I'm just going to make the music I love to make, and I'm going to mature with my music.

Your job is to inspire people from your neighborhood to get out.

I've talked to Bill Clinton - he's the ultimate rock star; no one's more charming than him. People clap in a restaurant when he finishes dinner! I don't get that treatment. I get it when I walk onstage, but not when I have dinner.

I'm just saying the producers and people who work on music are getting left out - that's when it starts getting criminal. It's like you're working hard, and you're not receiving. In any other business, people would be standing before Congress. They have antitrust laws against this kind of behavior.

I think reviews have lost a lot of their importance now because of the Internet; everyone is experiencing things at the same time.

I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.

I have inherited two of the most important brands in hip-hop, Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella. Reid and Universal Music Group have given me the opportunity to manage the companies I have contributed to my whole career. I feel this is a giant step for me and the entire artist community.

Everyone who makes music is a good collaborator at their foundation because in order to make music, you have to connect to it in a way that other people can't.

Hip-hop from the beginning has always been aspirational. It always broke that notion that an artist can't think about money as well. Just so long as you separate the two and you're not making music with business in mind. At some point, it has to be real when they touch it, when they listen to it. Something has to resonate with them that's real.

I learned to ride a ten-speed when I was 4 or 5. My uncle gave me the bike, hand-me-down, and everyone used to stare at me riding up and down this block. I was too short to reach the pedals, so I put my legs through the V of the frame. I was famous. The little kid who could ride the ten-speed.

When I listen to Amy Winehouse, I believe that her heart and soul is in the music, or if I listen to other British artists like Duffy or Estelle. The aesthetic of it is different, and it's my point of view. It's not anything formulaic.

I got love for Damon Dash as I did before. I don't know if we can be around each other in that way because times have changed. He may be a totally different person. I know I'm a different person. But nothing can erase that era, those times, those memories, those fights to get 'Roc-A-fella' where it was.

I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it's towards, aren't I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?

What people have to understand is 'Billboard' is a magazine. They're like elected officials - they work for us.

I try to make music with emotion and integrity. And authenticity. You can feel when something's authentic, and you can feel when it's not: you know when someone's trying to make the club record, or trying to make the girl record, or trying to make the thug record. It's none of that. It's just my emotions.

I don't have any fear of working with Samsung because I'm not gonna let them put a phone on my forehead; that's just never gonna happen.

It's hilarious a lot of times. You have a conversation with someone, and he's like, 'You speak so well!' I'm like, 'What do you mean? Do you understand that's an insult?

My first album was mainly dealing with street issues, and it was 'coded': it was called 'Reasonable Doubt.' So the things I was talking about... I was talking about in slang, and it was something that people in the music business was not really privy to. They didn't understand totally what I was saying or what I was talking about.

If I go into a studio and find my truth of the moment, there are a number of people in the world who can relate to what I'm saying and are going to buy into what I'm doing. Not because it's the new thing of the moment, but because it's genuine emotion. Its how I feel. This is how I articulate the world.

By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper - my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape.

Hip-hop has done more for race relations than most cultural icons; and I say save Martin Luther King, because his 'I Have A Dream' speech was realized when Obama was elected into office.

Those who are successful overcome their fears and take action. Those who aren't submit to their fears and live with regrets.

The average rap life is two or three albums. You're lucky to get to your second album in rap!

I think that's what happened to the record business when 'Napster' came around. The industry rejected what was happening instead of accepting it as change.

I've said the election of Obama has made the hustler less relevant. People took it in a way that I was almost dismissing what I am. And I was like, 'No, it's a good thing!'

If your dad died before you were born, yeah, it hurts - but it's not like you had a connection with something that was real. Not to say it's any better - but to have that connection and then have it ripped away was, like, the worst. My dad was such a good dad that when he left, he left a huge scar. He was my superhero.

Successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who've never done anything because if you haven't been successful, then you don't know how it feels to lose it all.

I think in London - and I don't wanna offend anybody in America, but this is a real statement - they still have the right approach to making music. In the U.S., people see it as a way to make money; they see it as a means to get out. It's a hustle, which is great - any way you can provide for your family that's legal is fantastic.

People really feel like music is free but will pay $6 for water. You can drink water free out of the tap, and it's good water. But they're OK paying for it.

The burden of poverty isn't just that you don't always have the things you need: it's the feeling of being embarrassed every day of your life, and you'd do anything to lift that burden. As kids, we didn't complain about being poor; we talked about how rich we were going to be and made moves to get the lifestyle we aspired to by any means we could.

When the TV version of Annie came on, I was drawn to it. It was the struggle of this poor kid in this environment and how her life changed. It immediately resonated.

I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice - anything just to get a paper bag. And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook.

Providing - that's not love. Being there - that's more important. I mean, we see that. We see that with all these rich socialites. They're crying out for attention; they're hurting for love. I'm not being judgmental - I'm just making an observation. They're crying out for the love that maybe they didn't get at home, and they got everything.

I don't know where streaming will go in the future. The analytics that we're seeing tell us that streaming is the next thing, and downloads are going down. I feel like with the history of this platform, from vinyl to where we are now, it just seems like the next logical step.

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly.

When you're growing up, your dad is your superhero. Once you've let yourself fall that in love with someone, once you put him on such a high pedestal and he lets you down, you never want to experience that pain again.

I treat people based on who they really are, not the name. Everyone has to be respectful and be a human being. No one's above... That's how I carry it with anybody.

Growing up, politics never trickled down to the areas we come from. But people from Obama's camp, and Obama himself, reached out to me and asked for my help on the campaign. We've sat and had dinner, and we've spoken on the phone. He's a very sharp guy. Very charming. Very cool.

When Basquiat was hanging out with Madonna and Fab Five Freddy, and all those worlds were colliding, people have to realize hip-hop and the arts were like this 'cause we both were outcasts: we wasn't allowed inside the galleries or inside Yankee Stadium. We were writing in the street and making music.

Just strengthening that theme that America is a place of opportunity and hoping to inspire people to fulfill those opportunities, and to want more, and to want better, and to see the places we can go. So many people identify with me because of the place that I come from.

Companies that pretend to care about music and really care about other things - whether it be hardware, whether it be advertising - and now they look at music as a loss leader. And we know music isn't a loss leader; music is an important part of our lives.

I've got a nice collection of paintings - a Basquiat, a black-and-white Warhol that's like a Rorschach test, and I commissioned Takashi Murakami to do a ten-foot joint for me. It's almost like the explosion in Hiroshima with his famous skeleton head. There's a wall above my fireplace reserved for it.

I was a really good student. In the sixth grade, I was reading at a twelfth grade reading level. But I got bored.

People wanted to make products based on our child's name, and you don't want anybody trying to benefit off your baby's name.