JAY-Z couldn't be happier for his mother, Gloria Carter.
In a sneak peek clip from Friday's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, the 48-year-old rapper opens up to host David Letterman about what it was like having his mom come out as lesbian on his 4:44 track, "Smile," last June.
JAY-Z recalls the exact moment when Gloria first told him about her sexuality. "I really cried," the New York City native shares. "That's a real story. I cried because I was so happy for her that she was free."
He says his mother opened up to him about eight months ago, when 4:44 was in production.
"Like, she just told me. I made the song the next day," he reveals. "I knew. But this was the first time we had the conversation. And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner. Like, 'I feel like I love somebody.' She said, 'I feel like.' She held that little bit back, still. She didn't say, 'I'm in love.' She said, 'I feel like I love someone.'"
"And I just, I cried," he adds. "I don't even believe in crying because you're happy. I don't even know what that is. What is that?"
JAY-Z continued on, asking Letterman to imagine having lived your entire life for someone else, and the protection of your children.
"For my mother to have to live as someone that she wasn't and hide and, like, protect her kids -- and didn't want to embarrass her kids, and you know, for all this time," he says. "For her to sit in front of me and tell me, 'I think I love someone.' I mean, I really cried."
"Smile" was released late last June, and marked the first time JAY-Z and Gloria ever addressed her sexual identity. Approximately 40 seconds into the track, the third off 4:44, JAY-Z sings, "Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian, had to pretend so long that she's a thespian. Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate. Society shame and the pain was too much to take. Cried tears of joy when you fell in love. Don't matter to me if it's a him or her. I just want to see you smile through all the hate."
Gloria joined her son with a spoken outro, saying, "Living in the shadow. Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? In the shadows people see you as happy and free, because that's what you want them to see. Living two lives, happy, but not free."
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Jay-Z launches globally on Netflix Friday, April 6. In the meantime, watch the video below to hear how JAY-Z and his wife, Beyonce, are gearing up for their highly anticipated On the Run II tour.