observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Wearing the 4-5"

So Jay Z has officially ended the retirement we all knew wouldn’t last. I just hope the brother doesn’t end up like Muhammad Ali or to a certain extent like Michael Jordan, an icon he often references. Both of those athletes simply stayed on too long and did serious damage to their legacy. Ali has bounced back and may arguably be as well known now as in his heyday.
Jordan ran the Wizards into the ground as he attempted to reclaim his mojo. Who knows how long it will take for them to bounce back.
Kwame Brown will most likely never be the same.

Jay coming back is not so much like Jordan’s first retirement, but more like his second. If he was able (and we all knew he was not – “when I come back like Jordan wearing the 4-5”) Jay could have left on top of his game with an outstanding album that was praised by both backpackers, hipsters, the literati, and thugs. By continuing the growth of the strongest brand in Hip-Hop, Def Jam, he could have become the first top rate rapper to become a top rate business man. LA Reid is for more successful as an executive than he was as a producer with Babyface and they made some joints. Andre Harrell was marginal at best. Puffy is Puffy. Master P was never acknowledged by the literati for his skills. Admired by the industry, yes. Jermaine Dupri has made hits, wrote hits, and produced hits but again he is not respected for his artistic contributions as much as he is for his money.

Jay could have taken credit for Ne-Yo, Kanye, Rhianna, and Rick Ross. Many would argue, but history would have been kind. Instead I fear he will bear the cross for disappointing sells from Method Man, and The Roots. Field complaints from LL. And they will all rightfully claim he was more focused on his own comeback than their project. Whether that is the case or not it will be difficult to ignore the probability and possibility.
No matter what you say it is hard to compete with the boss as a peer.

And even though I knew it was coming I feel a little stupid for buying into the whole ‘Fade To Black’ marketing campaign. Shouldn’t he issue some sort of apology or something.

I hope this album is not the thread that unravels the sweater.
And this album better be the Ali that came back to win the title, not the one who got clobbered by Trevor Berbick.

We shall see. Have a good weekend.

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