Oprah: You'll be 40 this year. Are you proud of the man you've become?

Jay-Z: Very—but I've still got some growing to do.

Oprah: What do you know for sure?

Jay-Z: I know that there's a higher being: The One, or whatever you want to call it. There has to be, for everything to work so perfectly in the human body, and for the world to work the way it does.

Oprah: What makes you most proud?

Jay-Z: Taking care of my family. That's every little boy's dream, right? To buy Mom a house.

Oprah: Many of the little boys who grew up in the Marcy projects are either in jail or dead. Why do you think you got to grow up and buy your mom a house?

Jay-Z: There's the gift, there's the spirit, and there's the work—all three have to come together. If one of those things is off, it can stop you from becoming who you were meant to be.

Oprah: Is there anything else you still want to do?

Jay-Z: I want to represent hip-hop culture positively. No one in my family is wanting for a meal right now, so that part is done. Rap is what took me out of my situation, and now I must care for it. I have to leave it as I found it—or better—for the next generation of kids. Then maybe they can change their situation like I did.

Find out which books made a difference to Jay-Z

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