"Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk/ Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run/ Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly," he raps on the track, which he debuted Sunday at Love nightclub in Washington, D.C. "So I'mma spread my wings/ You could meet me in the sky."
"It's just the progression. ... You sat, you walked, you ran, you ran to fly," Jay told MTV News on Monday night (January 19) before his show at Warner Theatre, explaining his lyrics. "You know, just the progression and how far we've come as a nation. It feels good to say that, 'cause I never had that type of feeling to say as a nation, like I was part of the American dream. And I believe a lot of people didn't feel like a part of the American process for so long."
Aside from the president-elect and incoming first lady Michelle Obama, Jay-Z and wife
The power couple, along with a number of other high-profile celebrities, are in town to see Obama sworn in as the next president of the United States. Beyoncé is set to sing during the Obamas' first dance at Tuesday's "Neighborhood Ball."
Jay said Obama's victory has sparked a renewed hope for America.
"Now everyone's included in the American process this great day," he said. "So that's the progression and the process. Now there's no excuses for anybody. Now you can look into a child's eyes and say, 'Get it together. You can be president.' It's not an easy thing, but it can happen. And we have evidence to the fact."
Watch "Be the Change: Live From the Inaugural" online now, and come back Thursday for the full performances from Kanye West, Kid Rock and Fall Out Boy. Stick with us for wall-to-wall coverage of the inauguration and of the scenes in Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Kenya.