Stephen A. Smith Recalls JAY-Z Calling Him Over Beyoncé VS Rihanna Remarks

Stephen A. Smith claims JAY-Z called him after he took to a talk show comparing wife Beyoncé to his Roc Nation artist, Rihanna.

Ahead of Riri’s 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show, Smith shared his opinion that the Caribbean artist wouldn’t hold a candle to Beyoncé’s previous showings.

“A month later, Hov and I were on the phone,” Smith revealed on the Connect the Dots podcast Monday (March 4). “Hov was like, ‘My dawg, you family, that’s family. That’s too close to say that.’ I said, ‘I didn’t know.’ He said, ‘I know.’ Done!

“In other words, it’s a business, it’s a part of it, you don’t know how she’ll receive it, etc. etc. etc. That’s all he had to say. I appreciated that.”

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 30: (Exclusive Coverage) Beyonce and Rihanna attend the Tidal launch event #TIDALforALL at Skylight at Moynihan Station on March 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Roc Nation)

The call came after Smith’s January 2023 appearance on Sherri, where he asserted the billionaire Fenty Beauty founder “ain’t Beyoncé.”

“I don’t want to say I’m not excited, she’s fantastic, that’s not where I’m going with this,” he began while discussing the news of Riri’s performance. “Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a lot of things, she’s spectacular actually — and congratulations on the new mama hood — there’s one thing she’s not, she ain’t Beyoncé.”

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna performs during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Following mixed reactions — including a sprinkling of boos — he added, “The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl, with and without Bruno Mars and Coldplay.”

“Beyoncé performed, but she’s had her time,” host Sherri Shepherd responded, to applause. “Now there’s Rihanna, Rihanna’s coming back, she’s got that extra umph of motherhood, I like Rihanna.”

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Rihanna’s 2023 showing resulted in the reveal of her second pregnancy. She was followed by Usher, who took to the stage for the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show.