Jay Z’s my favorite rapper and being the man of upstanding, intelligence, character and integrity that I’m certainly is, I would never presume to write something about him that I would even half-jokingly try to peddle off as “unbiased”.
Quite simply, Hov’s been great.
The first fully literate MC without the trapping and dogma of Rakim’s 5 Percent knowledge, more sociopolitical than Big, better with words than Pac, a little less esoteric than Nas, more linear than Em, a longer track record than Kendrick, and flat out better than just about everybody else including a litany of other favorites like Redman, Snoop, Kane, and Juvenile.
But now he’s a geezer. He’s actually been a geezer for going on 7 years now, geezer status being official at 40 and lumbering into something indefinable as a rapper approaches the yet unthinkable 50.
Yet Hov is still relevant.
I say that despite Magna Carta Holy Grail, an album so putrid and loathsome, I wanted steal a whole truckload of the discs just to throw them at him like Yankee fans once did to Reggie Jackson with Reggie! bars.
Still, we have a generation that holds no value in Hov.
Reading along the comments on the fact that he’s dropping a new single with Pusha T tonight I saw shit like – and to my astonishment- “Jay Z better not mess up this song.”
The nerve, I though.
And would you really be surprised to know how utterly Jay Z destroys it?
Drug Dealers Anonymous | King Push | Hov https://t.co/wjqHLdkRqK
— David Whitehead (@SneakerDave) June 1, 2016
But as far as the criticism, what do you expect?
It’s not this generation, it’s all generations throughout history that need trauma for enlightenment.
There are a whole bunch of people that are now experts on Prince that couldn’t have named one fucking song of his this time two months ago.
And maybe that’s the problem with Jay.
Maybe he simply lived too long.
Look at what they’re saying about Bob Dylan.
Look at how they treat Stevie Wonder.
Music is cruel.
If this were literature, where the likes of Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, octogenarians both, can rock out for as long as they’ve got something to put out, or film where Woody Allen will never run out of willing actors that just want to be able to add their names to the list of those that have worked with The Master, then Hov would have another 40 years coming.
But trends are too binding in music.
The artist is too linked to his time.
The fact that Hov has been able to stretch his time now an altogether outrageous 20 years – in Hip Hop at that! – gives credence to a “like him or not” ability that hate would have to stupefy you not to appreciate.
And of course, his ability to fall back artistically because for a time, this time in fact, his wife has had the hotter hand, makes him either fanatically shrewd, totally in love or both.
The arts ain’t sports.
The talent ain’t supposed to go like the body does, but even I understand that each generation has it’s own heroes and people like their own voices telling their own stories.
It’d be nice to see Hov buck convention and say, “Fuck trying to appeal to kids that werent’t even born when Reasonable Doubt came out,” spit his old grandpa raps (better than anybody else imaginable could) and just keep doing it regardless, but that probably won’t be the case.
Kendrick’s gonna eventually take his spot. We all know it.
And sadly, if he’s still alive when it happens, we won’t even miss him.