Lulu's son shine: What is Jay-Z talking about in "A Star is Born"?

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UPDATE 3/29/10

Just got very credible word that Lulu is in fact Jay-Z’s mom. Source is someone who spoke to Jay-Z directly.


Explaining Jay-Z’s “A Star is Born” was, for the most part, no problem at all. Everything he said was pretty straightforward and, once you know the history of rap, the references are fairly obvious. But there was one line that left everybody scratching his head:

Can’t you see how long my run
My reign, Lulu’s son shine

Presumably, Jay-Z was referring to himself as Lulu’s son. But this led to the natural question: who the hell is Lulu? Commenters who tried helping out with this one listed a few different theories, none of which made much sense.

Some said Lulu refers to Jay-Z’s mom, but Jay’s mom’s name is Gloria Carter

Others claimed it meant Lucifer and thus Jay-Z is calling himself the devil’s son. But while Jay-Z did have a song named “Lucifer,” there’s no evidence to think that Lulu is shorthand for Lucifer or that Jay-Z fancies himself the child of the devil

The most credible theory was that Jay-Z was referring to Lupe Fiasco. Jay-Z, after all, was the executive producer of Lupe’s album Food and Liquor and has been very complimentary of Lupe Fiasco in the past. Furthermore, Lupe had a song titled “Sunshine” on the album.

The pieces seemed to fit, but there were some concerns that kept us from pulling the trigger on this explanation: Jay-Z hasn’t collaborated on many songs with Lupe and it would be really weird to Jay to call himself Lupe Fiasco’s son, especially by using a diminutive nickname like “Lulu.”

Fortunately, we finally had a commenter give us a theory that seems right: Lulu is a character from the Roc-A-Fella Records film Paid in Full. In the movie, Lulu is a drug lord who introduces the protagonist, Ace, to the drug game. So it’s possible that Jay-Z is analogizing Lulu to whoever got Jay started in the drug game. We’ve even heard that Lulu was a character based on a person named Lulu in real life who actually introduced Jay-Z to the drug game. Confirming this has been difficult.

We’ve flagged both possibilities in the explanation, but if any of you out there actually know of this mythical Lulu gentleman, leave a comment and hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of this.