First, Jay paid tribute to late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington with “Numb/Encore,” the most ubiquitous track from Collision Course, his 2004 collaborative album with the band. “I dedicate this song to Chester,” Jay said before launching into it. He’s performed the song two other times since Bennington’s death on July 20 — at V Festival and at Made in America — but the intimate studio setting allowed for a much more solemn performance, especially when Jay simply bowed his head and left Bennington’s verse alone during the final minute-and-a-half.
Following the performance, Jay spoke to BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo about Bennington’s death, explaining why he hopes the tragedy will inspire a wider discussion about mental health.
“Hopefully his death serves as a wake-up call. Mental health is a real thing,” he said. “You never know what people are going through … Money or fame doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy inside.
“A lot of people, we go on and we don’t deal with what’s happening to us,” Jay continued. “Especially if you’re a performer like that. You just start numbing yourself. You just become numb. He’s singing it. You just go and get bigger audiences and things like that and you move further away from yourself.”
The wide-ranging interview also covered the sociopolitical climate in the U.S., Blue Ivy’s potential as a rapper, Jay’s lackluster Twitter skills, and why he recently watched a leaked Game of Thrones episode (“People bootleg my album. I’m owed a little bit!”). He also performed 4:44 standout “Family Feud” (Beyoncé vocals and all), which you can see below.