Sign up FAST! Login

18 Is The Magic Number: The Secret Behind How Jay Z Remembers All His Rap Lyrics - Elite Daily

Stashed in: Joo, Hip Hop, @jayz, Elite Daily

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Apparently 18 is the magic number of times Jay Z repeats his lyrics to commit them to memory.

The rapper was hesitant about admitting the exact amount to Nardwuar, probably to protect his secret, but Roots drummer Questlove spilled the beans in a separate interview.

Questlove described a time when he was working with Jay Z for an upcoming gig. The duo only had a few days to rehearse before the big show, and Jay Z didn’t know all the lyrics to the songs in his planned set.

Questlove told Jay Z about a study he had recently read that detailed repetition and memory. The research said that if you repeat something 18 times it will be committed to memory. Questlove said,

The coolest thing about Jay Z is that he’s not lazy… I told him that if you want to know all these songs studies say that if you repeat anything 18 times in a row it will instantly be committed to memory.

At first [Jay] tried six times and he would forget certain things but I told him to trust me. So we set up a schedule nine days before the show and we practiced learning four songs a day and [got it done].

Here’s Nardwuar’s interview with Jay Z. For the memory tip, skip ahead to the 4:45 mark, although we suggest you watch the entire thing. It’s a fantastic interview.

It IS a good interview. 18 is an oddly specific number. Why not 20?

I wonder if Jay Z is Jewish.