Shawn Carter's latest album tells us a lot about how he feels about his family. As such, the fact that Blue Ivy appears on JAY-Z's "Legacy" isn't exactly a plot twist. The adorable 5-year-old opens the track by asking “Daddy, what’s a will?” It’s a great if unsettling opening, since it condenses the major questions of the track into one question. Namely, what sort of legacy does JAY-Z want to leave for his children? And what sort of legacy does he want his generation to leave to America? And what is the rapper going to do with his fortune? He gives us some pretty specific details.
He’d leave some money for “My sisters, Hattie and Lou, the nephews, cousins and TT/Eric.” Genius annotator boolin comments that “Lou is his mother Gloria’s nickname, TT is his niece who he has mentioned on “What More Can I Say” and “Momma Loves me” and Eric of course is [JAY-Z's] older brother.” But the rapper also plans to leave money for B (presumably Beyoncé) for “whatever she wants to do.” Beyoncé’s commitment to charity work is well known, so it feels like a fair guess when the 47-year-old predicts:
“She might start an institute
She might put poor kids through school”
But what about his daughter? She’ll be receiving a “stake in Roc Nation,” the entertainment company he founded, as will any siblings she has. But JAY-Z’s clearly all about empire building, because he likes the idea that these siblings should “give [their stake] to their children, too.”
It builds a beautiful picture, of all the wealth and influence JAY-Z has accumulated being passed down from parent to child, hopefully sustaining his family for generations to come, and inspiring others to do the same.
While, on a first listen Blue Ivy's question may leave the audience thinking the track is about the specifics of the rapper's will, this song isn't just about leaving a financial legacy for his eldest daughter. It's about leaving her and her generation with a better world.