I wrote about Biggie’s seminal classic Sky’s The Limit and it’s accompanying video (the video briefly, the song more-so) over at No Jumper. I’ve been listening to that song for about 12 years, so I had quite a few things to say about it.
Anonymous asked: Yo I know you are a Jay Z fan, and I know he is considered a legend, but fuck I could never get into his shit. I tried everything from reasonable doubt to the blueprint but the dude just bores the hell out of me. I can't stand all his "uh huh, yeah, jigga on the beat" shit. I just think those adlibs are corny. And i enjoy gucci's adlibs a lot haha. I mean dont get me wrong I dont think hes a bad rapper. hes very solid and anyone who is as successful as he is def has skills, but I kind of feel the way about him that you do lupe. He has a few songs that I enjoy on occasion, but his fan base over analyzes him like crazy. So is there something I'm really missing when listening to his music? I respect that hes incredibly successful and has a fine bitch, but hes incredibly overrated as a rapper in my eyes. I want to call him the master P of new york, but i know you're a master P fan lol.
Like you said, I am a Jay-Z fan. I am also a Jay-Z critic, due to the fact that he’s probably one of the most frustrating rappers this side of his Renegade counterpart, or even his greatest rival Nasir. Honestly, he’s probably more frustrating than both Em and Nas, due to the fact that even when they’re creating some of the worst music of their career, it kinda feels like that’s the path their heart was telling them to follow; they’re passionate artists, even in their worst moments, and as they continue to fall further in terms of genuine skill they’re at least kinda trying. Jay-Z is virtually a stone cold businessman however, and all those shitty songs he’s created (uh, 3/4th of BP3?) were good for business.
Even as a fan of Jay-Z, his fanbase still pisses me off, the exact reason you mentioned. I remember when Hov was talking about Jackie Robinson on Brooklyn We Go Hard, about running base, but dodging the pen. People pretty much were dubbing that quadruple entendre, and I remember just shaking my head at all the examples of what that meant. Like, really, it was clever, but holy shit guys, you’re running it into the fucking ground. Granted, I don’t think is quite as bad as the overanalyzation of Lupe’s lyrics, because people fucking try to make up an explanation for everything Lupe says. For example, if Lupe says “Hello,” people’ll be be like, “well, this is Lupe’s reintroduction to the world, so he wants to make sure he formally and respectfully addresses them with one of the most common, and pleasing words in the English language, which originated ..” it’s just like, GOD DAMN PEOPLE, FUCKING STOP IT. I hate most fanbases though (Jay’s, Lupe’s, Nas’, Eminem’s, 2Pac’s, Rakim’s, Kool G. Rap’s, Wiz Khalifa’s, Curren$y’s, Kanye’s, Clipse’s, Wayne’s, Drake’s, anyone that’s ever rapped, and no other genre is any better). Fans are annoying as fuck anywhere you go, and we’re no different. We obsess over this shit (maybe not music, but I’m sure there’s something in your life that you enjoy to the point that you read statistics, analyze, and examine to its very core), so I wouldn’t let that deter you for Hov’s music too much.
I can see how anyone would be bored by Jay-Z’s music. The thing is, Jay-Z is an artist that today lives off mystique alone, despite the fact that he is an originator of his style (and a honestly, most rappers today). Aside from 2Pac, Jay is easily the most influential rapper alive, and that’s because everyone started jacking his swagger, from the clothes to the flow to the lyrics, all the way down to the T, to the point that today people don’t even recognize who is an offspring of Jay-Z. I’d give you a list, but probably half or more of the artists that you enjoy (I’m gonna assume you like Lupe due to bringing him up) sound the way they due largely in part to Jay-Z. He was the first commercially successful rapper to really carry that calm, cool, and collected steez, and made even his most emotional records sound monotone as hell despite the fact that he genuinely cared about the subject at hand (take Soon You’ll Understand or Mama Loves Me for example, too extremely personal records that still carry about a sense of collectiveness despite being about regret and love, respectively). His voice and posture are both Jay’s greatest gift and curse (no BP2).
If you never felt Jay before now, you probably never will. Most of us Hov fans grew up on his music, and I’m sure that his words played a large part in our lives (I know they did in mine). But in 2010, plenty of people have adopted his style and expanded upon it, to the point that I’d rather listen to a Hov-descendent like Kanye anyday than listen to Jay-Z, and that’s just because he took Jay’s blueprint (again, no pun intended: but Jay is virtually the blueprint of mainstream rap) and built upon it, turning it into something greater. Jay’s in my top five, of all time, but that’s because his music has great sentimental value to me and I looked up (and still do) to Sean Carter as a child growing up. It’s all a matter of perspective and a matter of what value his music has to you. If you don’t hear what his fans hear, don’t worry. You’ll be fine without his music. Shit, I hardly even listen to it anymore.