Monday, March 24, 2014

If Jay Z Wants to Diss You, Let Him

Jay Z & Jay Electronica

The early years of my Jay Z fandom were tough!  I was writing lots of  poetry and somewhat introduced to the rapper Jay Z by my love for the rapper Nas. As I began to study Jay lyrically I was impressed by his word play, and really how smart he is. I was intrigued by the idea that he hadn't had an extensive formal education, but he studied things..and people. I really liked his composure. His confidence which border lines arrogance at times was appealing. Jay talked a big game on his now notorious radio "freestyles", and made himself and his movement appear bigger than the game- even if at the time,  they weren't.

I had very few issues with him as a fan at first, but over time that changed. At some point I became a little frustrated with what seemed to be him shying away from jabs taken by other rappers at the time. As a fan knowing the arsenal and skill JayZ carried in his mind it was tough to watch days, weeks, and even months go by sometimes without him saying a word. It was ridiculous at first, but after a while I learned a very important life lesson.

If Jay did happen to respond to someone it was rarely immediate. It was always in his own timing on some random verse on somebody else's record. I remember waiting for him to address some things Dame Dash said at the height of their split. I mean I waited, because as a fan you think you know enough about someone to assume that some accusations against them aren't true, so I waited for Jay's side of things. To my surprise while listening to a premiere of Kanye's Diamonds Remix, I hear Jay Z's voice interrupt the second verse. He addresses everything.. I got my life! This pattern taught me about the art of response vs reaction. How by not reacting in a moment and giving yourself time can put the power of the outcome back in your hands.

It was also around this time that I realized.. man.. my fave hardly addresses things period. This isn't just in regards to other rappers, but rumors as well. He picks and chooses what he's going to entertain, and even whose name he's going to mention. Jay realized at his level of creativity and success that he had very little energy to waste. I was learning from that too.

I remember one of the many Jay Z / illuminati conversations early on, and while I know Jays lyrics backwards & forwards and prided myself in my ability to hold him down lyrically in a discussion about hip hop- I felt defenseless against the standing accusations. At that time Jay had said nothing about the rumors circulating that he was a part of some evil secret society. My only defense was knowing what lyrics actually said vs what my counter parts said they sounded like. There I was again as a fan..waiting. Then, randomly..a new Usher song called Hot Tottie drops & Jay is on it. At a moment of least expectation I hear him use a metaphor of having watches that illuminate & naughty pockets, but being God's. I can't explain how geeked I was. That verse has since been followed by many more including Rick Ross' Free Mason and a couple of interviews putting those rumors to rest.

Jay Z is now more like a Bonifide mogul than a rapper I was stanning for years ago. With his growth he's become even more careful of who and what he entertains. Most of his lyrical content is about how bossy his life has become, his past struggles, his BANGIN wife, & now his joy as a father. There are some rappers who drop his name or reference him here and there out of spite. While they are still waiting for a response, I've learned my lesson. Many of them will never get one. If you look back on Jay's choices to respond, they are always people you know he respects in some way. He usually has mentioned them in some good way at some point. Jay has always felt that his mention is a cosign that carries weight. So that would be even more true at this level of success for him. So maybe on occasion your fave rapper may get a little jab as Drake got in the below Jay Electronica collab, but in Jay Z terms that's called respect.

Drake recently had words to say about Jay Z's love of visual artists specifically Basquiat, whom Jay Z loves to mention in his rhymes. Jay responds to that below. We know Drake has much respect for Jay and vice verse.Jay Z has always had high expectations and accolades for the young Toronto rapper, so lets not be dramatic. There's no ill blood in this response. I noticed Drake fans freaking over a diss while Jay Z fans chilled, because we know.

Jay Z is arguably the GOAT in Hip Hop. It's very easy to say that no one has influenced or elevated the culture as much as he has. I personally ride for his craft too. The bottom line is, he's made a name for himself, but kept his head in the game. I'm not the only person that knows Jay Z doesn't just give anybody his time. The whole industry knows it. Him mentioning your favorite rapper is a favor, even if it's tough to listen to. Jay Z is about the love of rap at this point. He's not out to prove anything. If he happens to respond to one of these younger dudes or silly celebs, it's a come up for them. Let him.