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Jay-Z Accidentally Gave U2’s Bono the Fear of Failure

Dave M. Benett, Getty Images

Jay-Z has hobnobbed with music’s big players for years, but a recent interview revealed just how much sway he has when it comes to one of the industry’s most successful veterans. Jay, real name Shawn Carter, explained how stray interview comments about a U2 record prompted Bono, the band’s singer, to return to the studio and try harder.

“One night I ran into Bono and he told me he read an interview I’d done,” Jay-Z told The Sun. “The writer had asked me about a U2 record that had just been released and I said something about the pressure a group like that must be under just to meet their own standards.”

While that seems like a straightforward comment on how the world’s most beloved acts feel pressure to deliver, Bono took it as a call to arms. “He said that the quote had really gotten to him and he decided to go back to the studio, even though the album was already done, and keep reworking it until he thought it was as good as it possibly could be,” Jay said.

More than a sign of his influence, Jay took his sway over Bono as a bigger lesson. No matter how big you get, each record must stand on its own and be a worthy addition to an artist’s discography. Jay-Z and Bono have only worked once together, collaborating on a benefit track for Haiti, following the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010. Titled ‘Stranded,’ it also featured fellow U2 guitarist The Edge and Rihanna.

Listen to Jay-Z, Bono, Rihanna & The Edge’s ‘Stranded’

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