When I listen to Jay-Z my mood changes. I intetailly listen to his albums for hours at a time during work or transit because its cathartic. As some of you may know I resigned under some pretty bitter circumstances from a long term job I’d been holding. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself exclusively listening to Jay-Z. Now mind you I have a pretty varied and exquisite taste in music (my catalogue is Animal Collective free thank you very fucking much). A privileged, well-to-do, suburban, educated, feminist-y, hebrew, dynamo of a human with a fervent adoration of man made legendary by the radio-bumping hoople-heads is nothing terriblely extraordinary, to be sure. With his massive cross over hits, stadium sell out shows, and gigantic commercial appeal its clear that Jay-z is deserving of his status, as he puts it, “the greatest rapper alive”
After listening to his phat beats and dope rhymes I’ve figured out why I specifically adore and identify with him.
Jay-z is anxious and middle-class. Or he was at one time. Now he’s anxious and famous. When he rhymes about hardships and doubt there its done without an once self-pity and anger (can you say the same thing about your work THE GAME?). There is something deeply mature in the lyrics. A cold splash of maturity. His unbridled ego and imagery of wealth are ireverent, and a bit satirical and so they make me smile. When you blend these scraps of woe with his gushing bravado you get this fantastic upbeat music with some terrific introspective weightiness. So rather than flip on Blonde Redhead — with its cat-wailing vocals, girls locker room lyrics, and overall moroseness –and feel a flood of self pity wash over me. I flip on jay-z, bob my head to the beats, idenifty with the lyrics of struggle, but still keep my swagger. That’s rare. And beautiful.