Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox


Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

“I’ve got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one”


As part of the promotion of the Old Ideas album, Leonard Cohen was interviewed by Pierre Siankowski for Les Inrockuptibles.

The pertinent excerpt from Leonard Cohen: Éternel Contemporain, published February 8, 2012, follows:

When I mention Tom Waits, Cohen’s eyes light up. “Tom is a friend, a wonderful man. I listen to his records very often they are part of my life. I am glad that my music can evoke his own. “He also quotes his friend poet Irving Layton, died in 2006, as its fundamental inspiration.” I keep reading his books since his disappearance, he is one of the sources of the latter disk. “Cohen does not preclude a subsequent tour.” I must find the necessary fuel. This may be the wine. “

And rap in all this? Jay-Z is it part of the life of Leonard Cohen? He stops, stares at me in the eye and, in his inimitable voice, launches the punchline of the legendary boss of hip-hop world:

I got 99 problems
but a bitch ain’t one

Leonard Cohen is 77. Our brief interview stops on the TKO incredibly soft, it promises a longer, maybe one day: “I’m still young, we have time.” [Google English translation; my emphasis]



Credit Due Department: Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner alerted me to Leonard Cohen’s quotation of Jay-Z’s lyrics in the Les Inrockuptibles interview. Les Inrockuptibles cover contributed by Dominique BOILE.

Note: Originally posted Feb 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric