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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Enough. Time to move on

Ok enough is an enough.

The Jay Z attacks by:

- bloggers with nothing better to do
-disgruntled rappers I love, but are past their prime
-Harlem rappers enjoying their time in the sun
- and Hip-Hop fans who want to wax poetic about the evolution of Jay but have only heard The Black Album

You/We all need to stop.

I bought (guuh!) two ‘Kingdom Come’ tracks on Friday - ‘Lost One' and 'The New 30'
Bottom line. They are excellent songs. I believe the push back on Jay is more to do with what is best described as jealousy.

Artistically, MC's are still jealous of his lyrical skills because rest assured he is still one of the nicest around. Even for an old fart purist like me.

I am sure A&R's are mad that Jay can pull beats out of Just Blaze that never appear on his reel.

Competing labels are definitely pissed at Jay's marketing plan. Not mad at Budweiser, Life, Jimmy Kimmel, or Monday Night Football for not calling them back. Mad that now every artist from Freaky Zeaky to Bow Wow is going to want 'Kingdome Come' type exposure. And those VP’s and Directors will not be able to deliver.

Vets are mad that in 12 years they have gone from prize rookies to kings to indie artist fighting for their piece of the pie. All the while Jay has become filthy rich and is not afraid to let you know.

Relative) Newcomers are mad that despite all their attempts the crown will not be theirs. At least for a while the King wears flip flops and not pink or purple – a fact that seems to grate on them with a degree of severity I do not understand.

But maybe I am being easy on the S Dot. You see I have never been a huge Jay fan. The only albums I have consumed in their entirety are 'Reasonable Doubt' and 'The Black Album.' Outside of those two joints, his albums have only given me 4 or 5 keepers. So I was not expecting 'Kingdome Come' to be a 'Paid In Full' or a '36 Chambers.' Maybe some were. Regardless, everyone should just chill with the attacks and move on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree with your assessment of the hate on Jay. I think what you fail to realize is that the playing field is not level. Jay was able to do the Monday Night Football thing, Life, Budweiser. etc because of the push from the machine. I guarantee that anyone who gets that same push will be successful. Nowadays, that push is what determines who will sell and who will be relevant to the mainstream. I guarantee that other artists on Def Jam (ie: Nas and Ghost) won't get that push. A lot of disgruntled rappers are disgruntled because the industry shut the doors on "real" hip hop right around the time Hov started getting successful. Hov has the power to change the game for the good of hip hop, but he's too rich and powerful now. So now he'd rather push the talented Rhiana.

December 05, 2006 12:02 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

I hear your point cousin.

My question to you is this

1. Anyone can suceed with that type of push? Puff had the machine working from home and didn't do Jay numbers. Do you think someone as bereft of MC skills as Puff could move Kingdom Come units? I think you need the skills and the push.

2.My point is that no one can get that type of push. No one can move the machine like Jay so our favorite MC will never have access to the tools Jay does. For various reasons.

That is why for now Hov is the perfect storm. Skills, power, sales history, and desire. Most people have one, maybe two.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think

December 05, 2006 12:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you fam...I neglected to bring skills into the equation. I think it also depends on how much the label believes in you. I don't think Puff got pushed that hard. I think the label was leaning on name recognition. Def Jam made a big campaign out of this, and I think this has a lot to do with your post on the relavancy of the major label system. I think they wanted to prove to themselves that the machine still worked. This is me just talking from the perspective of a fan. I don't dislike Hov at all, I just want to see him use his power and influence differently. I'm curious about your views on Little Brother...and do you think "our" kind of hip hop can win in the mainstream?

December 05, 2006 1:08 PM

Anonymous Stephanie Elder said...

Wes, I couldn't agree with you more, not just on the blog, but your comment to the reader as well. I, like you, am an old fart hip hop head, who used to be really concerned about preserving a space for "that real hip hop". Can we even use that phrase in 2006? Should we ever have? The older and wiser I get, I just like what I like, period. As you've been screaming from the hilltops, the game has most definitely changed, and instead of all these bitter old (and new) rappers complaining, they need to go ahead and change with it, or find some other shit to do. And besides, from what I can gather from his recent XXL cover piece, Nas seems to be doing just fine, all of his so-called supporters who are bashing Jay, be damned.

December 05, 2006 1:37 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

Steph - word up to all your points.

To Anonymous - I don't think Little Brother and "our" kind of hip-hop can win in the mainstream. Because it was designed for the mainstream. Occasionaly one unit slips through (Kanye, Common, De La, Tribe) and makes some waves. But for the most part they get chewed up and spit out. Then they lose their spark and become bitter. And their music suffers.

My suggestion is that if you enter the system - be prepared. Realize that you are the anomaly. And prepare your battle plan accordingly. If your battle plan is not ready or if you lack the desire to fight in that arena go elsewhere. Don't sign that major deal yet. Stay indie. Do a digital relese. Grind it out on the road and build your fan base. Do a deal for Japan.

Then assess the situation. Maybe you have made enough money your way. Maybe you are ready to move mountains a la Sean Carter

December 05, 2006 2:42 PM

Anonymous rafi said...

The world's not ready to see any artist let alone a black one beat the game.

When you're on top - they hate on you. Jay's been saying that all along only now he really is on top. Which means that all people want to do is see him brought down. It's the totally depressing predictable cycle of fame.

Annoyingly the tide of opinion has little room to even hear out a dissenting point of view. This album is good, screw the haters.

The same people complaining about how they want to hear honesty in hip-hop and they're tired of hearing the same thug shit all the time are the ones on hating on jay-z for rapping about where he's at.

December 05, 2006 11:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rafi, in terms of Hov's subject matter, I think the "I'm rich" talk is equally as disturbing for me as the thug talk. I think at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself who is affected by these messages. There is so much that is going on that we should be talking about.

December 06, 2006 11:29 AM

Blogger ian said...

An 80% 2 wk drop (vs. the standard 66%) indicates that most heads ain't feeling the album and disagree with you, Wes.

Listen, Jay could be the G.R.A.T. (Greatest Rapper Alive Today) so when he drops an album that sounds well below the quality and stardards he's capable of and done in the past, cats are gonna call bullsh-t on him.

He's talking about hip hop needs events to keep people interested, excited and going to the store then he comes with this half-assed album that sounds like the worst parts of The Black Album and Blueprint 2 combined?! Nobody was waiting for this clunker, not when young turks like Game and Jeezy are droppping GREAT, maybe even CLASSIC, albums. I mean c'mon, Kingdom Come ain't even close to being one of the hottest rap albums of the last 3 weeks, never mind the year.

I ain't gonna front, Lil Wayne is right: "[hip hop's] not your house anymore and I’m better than you" plus a double f-ck him goes out to him for the wack treatment I got at the 40/40 club last weekend - I couldn't take some CD's in as a bday gift for my cousin or wear sneakers without a HUGE hassle. Correct me if I'm wrong but that's a sports bar... owned by a rapper, right? But I can't wear sneakers?? Dude has lost the plot, he's just not hip hop any more or, at best, he's old man, irrelevant hip hop.

Excuse me while I go back to bumpin' Doctor's Advocate, The Inspiration and Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.

December 06, 2006 9:27 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

You really have it out for young H-O,
FYI - I heard he made some disparaging comments about Canada, lol

Seriously, I am not sure those drop off numbers mean the same in the digital era. But regardless it is not a good sign.

What were Game and Snoop's drop offs?

And what does it say if at the end of the cycle Jay's numbers are better than Wayne, Snoop, Jeezy, and Game?

And as for Wayne - I wrote a post that didn't publish for some reason. But that claim is crazy. If it's Wayne's house I am moving to the suburbs. Urban flight in effect.

I am not gonna say who is better than whom but for me that Jeezy song does nothing for me. I have heaard nothing from those cats to warrant a debate on the topic. But that's just me

December 07, 2006 9:57 AM

Blogger ian said...

"'young' H-O" - LOL!


Snoop drop-off 2nd wk -66%

Game drop-off. 2nd wk -63% | 3rd wk -54%

60-67% is the standard 2nd week drop-off rate for major release rap albums. An 80% drop-off is BAD, trust!

Of course, Jay's sales are bigger overall though. He's top 3 right now even still (w/ Em and 50) so he's supposed to be smashing the game but he's not really 'cos the album is subpar for him while other cats have made better album regardless of whether they are actually better MC's than him or not (cf. Jeezy).

Anyone claiming Jay's still running sh-t right now as far the rap game is severely deluded or a super Stan for Hov. I respect his legacy as an artist and his executive hustle is pretty respectable (esp. in this climate) but he'll be lucky to get even close to 2M unless something pops real big on this album. If that's the case, I'd be surprised if they'll be anyone out there who will or can spin this comeback as anything but a failure.

Finally, listen to all the Jay remakes Wayne has been doing recently: his spit game is sick right now and he's making tracks that sounded mediocre on Kingdom Come sound HOT now. By this time next year the G.R.A.T. title might still go to an MC named Carter but I'm not sure his first name will be Sean!

My 2cents of course....

December 07, 2006 2:16 PM

Blogger ian said...

BTW: Wes, how have you not consumed The Blueprint in it entirety?? That's one of the few albums of the modern rap era that can lay a legit claim to being a classic. Largely produced by Kanye and Just Bleezy, that sh-t's a MUST-BUY, dude! I'm not even riding for Jay in this current young vs. old beef and I own that joint. C'mon, act like you know.

December 09, 2006 6:07 AM

Blogger Swifty said...

Wayne is the best rapper alive and I need to act like I know...riiiiiiiiiiight

December 09, 2006 9:07 AM

Blogger ian said...

Wes, c'mon man, read what I wrote carefully - "act like you know" referred to you not owning The Blueprint, not Wayne. You could have bought one copy of KC and got that album at the same time. It's a must-own.

I'm still not sure why you're riding so hard for this new Jay album though. Just cos his legacy's crazy doesn't excuse the fact that this album is subpar. All the mktg and the fact that he's dropped ill albums and verses in the past don't impress me. If you're supposed to be the GOAT or the GRAT and your comeback is supposed to be the event that will save hip hop, act like it and drop the hottest album of the year. He didn't, it wasn't, end of story, case closed.

All Jim, Wayne n all them are saying now is, "step aside, old man cos U ain't doing like U used to" and they're right about that. Of course the capo can't hold a candle to Jay on the MC tip and I guess UR gonna debate to death anyone who thinks Wayne can either but bottom line is based on this album, Jay ain't #1 any more and the new generation is staking their claims to the title. This reminds me of when cats older than us were aghast when people satrted saying Big and Pac were the GOAT and Rakim started getting written out of those debates. Now no-one disputes that anymore. Trust me, this is gonna be the same story all over again. You can't fight time or change.

December 09, 2006 6:22 PM

Anonymous danny said...

ok first off lets look at sales, jays album platinum, games album? snoops album?

exactly....and wayne cant even pop shit cuz if i remember correctly hes been on jays dick since god knows when so for him to even take a shot at jay is a bitch move....

and saying the album isnt lyrically hov like...come on the reason you probably think that is because hes braggin on almost every song, wat else can he do, talk about bein on the block hustlin, shootin up shit...no he cant cuz then he'd be lying his ass off...he also raps about hurricane katrina, the death of his nephew, the realness of hollywood and being a star, i mean wat more do you want from somebody thats seen it all, done it all, and been through it all....hov's not past his timee, put anyone of those rappers against him and theyd just get smashed period, no ifs ands or buts about it

January 08, 2007 2:09 PM


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