from (1/2/07)
Ayala Ben-Yehuda, L.A.

It was after church on a Sunday, and Chrisette Michele had God and hip-hop on her mind. The 23-year-old Long Islander was on her way to a studio to write and record the hook for “Lost Ones,” the first single off of Jay-Z’s album “Kingdom Come.” She hadn’t heard the rest of the song yet, but the deacon’s daughter wondered if it might be too explicit for her strong moral code.

“I was preparing in my head how I would say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this,'” says the singer-songwriter of her meeting with the hip-hop mogul.

But after Jay-Z played the track, which deals with commitment, friendship and death, “I looked at him and said, ‘Yo, this song is spiritual.’ This song is about self-respect.” Chrisette pauses for a moment. “He’s a preacher.”