Jay-Z is officially retired from the rap
game and while most are sad I feel a slight
Relief? Is this notion strange to your
ears? Well its not that I think he wasn’t
a good rapper, he was great at that! Its
just I thought he could have been a even
To me a rapper is someone who does whatever
it takes to get a rise out of people and
a MC does them with little regard who accepts
it or not just as long as they have piece
of mind and work.
Of course this is predicated on where you
are from and what is considered Hip Hop
in your area. You can’t put the same
qualifications on a down south rapper as
someone that is from East or any other
part of the country. Some people know no
better. So I don’t expect the lyrics
of a Rakim from Lil Jon and The Eastside
Boyz! It is about doing you and being real.
If you aren’t a MC, your just a producer
with a record contract say so i.e. Puffy.
Then the expectations are out the window.
And if you going to do a new style, do it
fly and do it first.
Remember when Biggie did the Bone
Thugs flow on “Notorious Thugs”?
It was fly cause he showed and proved he
could switch styles. But you also remember
everyone trying to do the same flow for the
next two years, right? Not the same effect.
It is a thin line between showing diversity
in skill and just going overboard. When
you start as a “tough” dude
and then start singing every song (I don’t
even have to say his name) we have a conflict
of interest cause you have sold out your
initial style for a market you got some
fortunate cash from.
Oh that is the last thing, you have to remember
where home is. Meaning keep your fan base.
While introduced to several other fan bases
on that hot single you have to know your
first fans need love too. If you start
one way it’s nice to know you remember
what way that is.
So after all that I have a problem with
Jay as a MC. In my opinion when someone has
Jay’s talent and they admittedly
dumb down their lyrics to get a bigger
fan base it is sad.
We need those with power of the voice to
Am I asking Jay to be Malcolm X, or the
solo form of Dead Prez? No but I don’t
want a MC who claims to be a God and claims
to be the best of his time to be singing
for other peoples money. Especially if
they use lines from people they now claim
they are better than and fail to remember
historical perspective of the man (R.I.P.
Biggie). Jay has kids now a days thinking
Big’s lyrics are his own using them
so much. Then has the nerve to say he is
better than him? That’s not how you
pay respect to a “friend” and
someone who helped blow you up.
The music business is tough with companies
holding the keys to the “financial” cars
and most artist struggling to catch a ride.
You want to keep you sanity and credibility
but still come out with some significant
How far your willing to go is the big question.
If you want to be a whore in the game you
can be paid. Doing business with others
is great but you must keep your style.
Do we complain that Busta Rhymes is on every
remix killing it? No cause he’s been
doing that and can still bring that fire
on his own albums.
My main problem with Jay is while his guest
appearances and collaborations have been
hot for the most part I think his albums
have continued to falloff or at least cater
to the less Hip Hop inclined. Instead of
two cheesy songs for the radio the album
has turned into 6 songs about the club
or the chickenhead!
Catchy phrases and hooks are good for two
to three songs cause we all know you need
to get paid in this music business but
when you put out an album and 75% of the
LP is full of collaborations, the hottest
producers and/or has a lot of cheesy hooks
it is like come on! How much time did you
really spend on this LP?
You can hold rap down for seven summers
like he quotes but it is what your saying
changing anything besides Rocafella Records
and your personal bank account?
Jay recently (I’d say since Volume
2: Hard Knock Life) raps mostly about superficial
things or things that most don’t have.
While true he saw and probably did more then
and now than he did previously you still
can’t go money and bull crazy.
Hey Jay, remember the grind dog? Remember
the gritty lyrics, the beats, the skills
needed to talk about situations like in “Lucky
Me" and "Friend or Foe”?
Do remember your voice set to the beats
of DJ Premier or is it all Timberland and
Neptunes these days?
Can you be confident and even cocky without
mentioning how many records you sold or
how we should be happy to have heard your
voice every time? I need to know!
It’s interesting that when recently
interview by Vibe magazine and asked for
his favorite songs Jay chose less commercial
cuts like “Where I’m From” and “Brooklyn’s
Finest” over songs like “Big
Pimpin” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”.
His list is a lot like mine would have been
as a fan but yet he put out music that wasn’t
remotely as meaningful for money.
I guess that is his right as a businessman
and some would say the reason Rocafella
Records and his other businesses are doing
I would hope he could have done alright
without dumbing down his lyrics. Remember
like a kamikaze fighter in World War II
if your willing to lose something
(in their cases their lives) you can do anything.
My point if you sell out artistically anything
I know some will say well Jay does give
He does but you do the math: if you make
money talking about product you sell and
things you do and you aren’t helping
the community out with the message of a
Talib Kweli or even Nas but you later give
a couple million to charity did you really
do anything? I compare it to a harmful
company like R.J. Reynolds (a tobacco company,
if you didn’t know) selling cigarettes
in the neighborhood and the donating money
to the recovery industry.
You are cutting your nose to save you face.
Is it as malicious as the cigarettes businesses,
no it is not close. Jay is like any person:
imperfect and he does a lot of this unintentionally,
but the fact remains it still happens.
While he boasts about what he is doing and
what he has he has a lot of weak-minded
people following his examples and trying
to be like him. It not his fault he is
in fact a leader of sorts yet when you
have the power it is how you handle it
or harness it.
As businessmen Jay-Z as well a Damon Dash
have done well beyond their jobs bringing
a young self started label and making it
extremely profitable with a nice and increasingly
large roster of talent and room to expand.
In fact, I like most of their acts.
I think the problem is the leader of the
Roc on the microphone is one of the leaders
of the business and that is an opportunity
for artistic death. Meaning as you have
to think business before what is just as
It is about the bottom line and unfortunately
that isn’t what music – the
art is about unfortunately it’s the
business part - which has corrupted the
Jay-Z the businessman is richer but was
his talent used the best it could have? Not
He alright but he’s not real!
While Jay-Z is immensely talented he gave
up some of his street credibility for the
money. I respect his drive as a hustler
but his talk shouldn’t represent
the people and it doesn’t problems
of the hood. For the most parts he just
makes you dance.
And while not a bad thing it’s not
all he could be, in my opinion.
While money makes the world move that isn’t
a good thing when you use money as you ultimate
motivation over uplifting your people.
Drop some knowledge every once in a while
get deep with the people show them how
to get out of their predicaments not just
champion their common struggles. That’s
easy and to the avid listener gets tired.
It is like Styles P. said: “I overstand
the game”. Meaning tell me something
new not gloss over what I have seen my whole
life. A couple of hot lines and a hook on
each song do not excuse uninspiring content.
Sadly he got the point and attempted to
return to a breath of rawness on his latest
The Black Album, clearly his best work
since Volume 2.
My question is what took so long? When you’re
walking out the door you decide to get retro/introspective?
That album was just a glimpse of a man clearly
skilled but flawed by the drive to make
money.This society breeds to many people
clearly out for the paper instead of for
and love of what your doing. This is sadly
cause love can’t alone bring food and
happiness to the table. But if you find something
you love it should drive you past fiscal
goals. Someone who loves their job never
retires; they just get a new fire started!
That fire and the substance of your work
will have people saying you lyrics for years
So the question is did Jay love or just
use the game? If you’re in and out
that will probably wind up being your legacy.
He was good but had the potential for so
Did Jay-Z live up to his potential? Vent