homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

kottke.org posts about Jay-Z

“Therapy” rhymes with “Jay-Z”

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 29, 2017

Dean Baquet, executive editor of the NY Times, recently interviewed Jay-Z about his latest album (which I like a lot), OJ Simpson, his marriage & infidelity, race, and Kanye. Jay-Z also talked about his experience with therapy:

BAQUET This album [“4:44.”] sounds to me like a therapy session.

JAY-Z Yeah, yeah.

BAQUET Have you been in therapy?

JAY-Z Yeah, yeah.

BAQUET First off, how does Jay-Z find a therapist? Not in the Phone book, right?

JAY-Z No, through great friends of mine. You know. Friends of mine who’ve been through a lot and, you know, come out on the other side as, like, whole individuals.

BAQUET What was that like, being in therapy? What did you talk about that you had never acknowledged to yourself or talked about?

JAY-Z I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a … you’re at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone’s racist toward you, it ain’t about you. It’s about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand.

And once I understand that, instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, “Aw, man, is you O.K.?” I was just saying there was a lot of fights in our neighborhood that started with “What you looking at? Why you looking at me? You looking at me?” And then you realize: “Oh, you think I see you. You’re in this space where you’re hurting, and you think I see you, so you don’t want me to look at you. And you don’t want me to see you.”

You have to switch to Sprint to hear Jay-Z’s new album

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 30, 2017

Jay-Z has a new album out today called 4:44 and it’s available exclusively on the streaming music service he owns, Tidal. But that’s not the only catch. To hear the album, you need have been a Tidal customer before today or you need to switch your mobile service to Sprint (or be a current Sprint customer).

This is all part of Tidal’s $200 million deal with Sprint and it makes very little sense to me. It’s a nice extra for current Sprint subscribers, but I can’t imagine that many people are going to sign up for Sprint just to hear an album. And Tidal’s gonna get a bunch of pissed-off first-time subscribers who will sign up thinking they’ll have access to the album but, oops!, they actually don’t. Dumb.

Rumor has it the exclusive is only for a week and then it’ll be elsewhere…which seems like a lot of fuss for very little reward.

Daft Punk’s chocolate in Jay Z’s peanut butter

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 12, 2014

A track called Computerized featuring Jay Z rapping over Daft Punk beats has surfaced. Take a listen:

I agree with Drew Millard’s take that this is an old unreleased track from the Tron Legacy / The Blueprint 3 days.

First, this isn’t an original Daft Punk instrumental; that keyboard line is a loop from the song “Son of Flynn” off of Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy. From there, literally anyone-like, even me in GarageBand-could loop that, throw some drums in there, get a vocoder plugin and sing “computeriiiiiized” into it.

From there, let’s analyze Jay Z’s lyrics, which include the line, “I got an iTouch but I can’t feel,” and also a reference to Hov Jobs’ BlackBerry. Judging from the dated technology iHova is talking about on here, this is probably old as fuck.

Jay Z’s albums ranked by Jay Z

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2013

In celebration of his 44th birthday, Jay Z ranked his solo albums:

Jay Z Ranked

Here’s the annotated list:

1. Reasonable Doubt (Classic)
2. The Blueprint (Classic)
3. The Black Album (Classic)
4. Vol. 2 (Classic)
5. American Gangster (4 1/2, cohesive)
6. Magna Carta (Fuckwit, Tom Ford, Oceans, Beach, On the Run, Grail)
7. Vol. 1 (Sunshine kills this album… fuck… Streets, Where I’m from, You Must Love Me…)
8. BP3 (Sorry critics, it’s good. Empire (Gave Frank a run for his money))
9. Dynasty (Intro alone…)
10. Vol. 3 (Pimp C verse alone… oh, So Ghetto)
11. BP2 (Too many songs. Fucking Guru and Hip Hop, ha)
12. Kingdom Come (First game back, don’t shoot me)

(via @anildash)

Picasso Baby art video thingie

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 03, 2013

In July, Jay Z rapped Picasso Baby at Pace Gallery in NYC for six hours. The fruits of that labor have been condensed by director Mark Romanek into a 10-minute music video that premiered on HBO last night. Here’s the film:

The idea of performance art came to mind. I was aware of Marina Abramovic’s Artist is Present, even though I was in London shooting ‘Never Let Me Go’ and didn’t get to go. And the idea that Jay-Z regularly performs to 60,000 people at a time, I thought, ‘What about performing at one person at a time?’ He absolutely loved it. He interrupted me and said, ‘Hold on! I’ve got chills. That idea is perfect.’ He thinks, like me, that the music video has had its era. I also wanted to make sure we had Marina’s blessing. So she attended the event and took part in the event. She couldn’t have been more happy or enthusiastic about us using her concept and pushing it forward.

Also, somehow, I have never heard Jay Z talk before. That’s his voice?

The best 99 Problems jokes on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 21, 2012

According to the data scientists at Stellar (i.e. me armed with clumsy SQL queries), people like riffing off of Jay-Z’s line from 2004’s 99 Problems:

If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you, son
I’ve got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one

Here are some of the better ones I found:

@antichrista: If you got religious circumcision, I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but a bris ain’t one.

@elibraden: I’m rubbing lotion on my belly rapping “I got 99 problems but ab itch ain’t one” to the elderly men in the gym locker room.

@goldengateblond: “I got 99 problems but the witch ain’t one.” — Darrin Stevens, widower

@evacide: I’ve got 99 problems, but an insufficiently sophisticated grasp of 4th amendment law ain’t one: https://t.co/E2XcSpb8

@dustmop: I got 99 problems but one of them is that i used hex and i actually have 152 other problems :(

@sween: If you’re coming to Canada to escape Obamacare, I feel bad for you son. We’ve got 99 problems but a lack of socialized medicine ain’t one.

@bagyants: “I got 99 problems, but they can wait.” - Lay-Z

@mikesacco: i got 99 problems but that’s 693 in dog problems!!

@blitznbeans: “I got 99 problems but I really need to lie back on this chair.” - Chaise-Z

@justin: I’ve got 99 problems but a view controller that works as expected on iOS 5 and doesn’t respond to user interaction on iOS 4 is the main one.

@paulypeligroso: “I got 99 problems but a bitch aint one.” - The Dalmatian parents from 101 Dalmatians.

@trevso_electric: I got 99 problems but white privilege ensures that they’re relatively trivial or easily worked out with a therapist.

@yellowcardigan: I got 99 problems but a joke structure based on a 2004 rap single ain’t one.

@lisarahmat: I got 99 problems but my math ain’t one hundred.

Let’s get a Kickstarter together to have Jay-Z rap all these lines.

Zadie Smith’s Jay-Z profile

posted by Aaron Cohen   Sep 09, 2012

I liked this Zadie Smith profile of Jay-Z, and not just for The Wire reference. Smith’s got a nice way with words and handles Jay-Z’s way with words nicely.

In “Decoded,” Jay-Z writes that “rap is built to handle contradictions,” and Hova, as he is nicknamed, is as contradictory as they come. Partly because he’s a generalist. Biggie had better boasts, Tupac dropped more knowledge, Eminem is — as “Renegade” demonstrated — more formally dexterous. But Hova’s the all-rounder. His albums are showrooms of hip-hop, displaying the various possibilities of the form. The persona is cool, calm, almost frustratingly self-controlled: “Yeah, 50 Cent told me that one time. He said: ‘You got me looking like Barksdale’ ” — the hot-blooded drug kingpin from HBO’s “The Wire” — “and you get to be Stringer Bell!” — Barksdale’s levelheaded partner. The rapper Memphis Bleek, who has known Jay-Z since Bleek himself was 14, confirms this impression: “He had a sense of calm way before music. This was Jay’s plan from day one: to take over. I guess that’s why he smiles and is so calm, ‘cause he did exactly what he planned in the ’90s.” And now, by virtue of being 42 and not dead, he can claim his own unique selling proposition: he’s an artist as old as his art form. The two have grown up together.

Additionally, you’ll enjoy this profile of a guy who has sent a couple hundred letter-length emails to Jay-Z since 2010, and is pretty sure the emails are being read.

Watch the Throne 2?!!

posted by Jason Kottke   May 25, 2012

Kanye and Jay-Z are doing a second album together!

Kanye West’s producer Mike Dean, who co-produced part of Jay and ‘Ye’s Watch the Throne, has confirmed that there will be a Watch the Throne 2! While Dean revealed that a follow up album is definitely in the works, he was unable to give a specific time for its release.

Maybe they’ll call it Watch the Throner?

Niggas in Paris at Midnight

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 14, 2012

This is so perfectly in the kottke.org wheelhouse that I can’t even tell if it’s any good or not: a mashup of Jay-Z and Kanye’s Niggas in Paris and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

(via ★davidfg)

The best Watch the Throne album review you’ll read

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 16, 2011

Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan reviewed Jay-Z and Kanye’s album, Watch the Throne…and it is hilarious.

2. Lift Off (ft. Beyonce) - I almost aint wanna even comment on this shit son…. I dont even kno what to say bout it yo. This shit sounds like the anthem the fairies in Ferngully would use to go to war against evil humans to or some shit b. This shit is like Shia LeBeouf in song form yo. Lissenin to this shit is like havin ya ears penetrated by a million microscopic dicks namsayin. Shit sounds like niggas doin aerobics on a magical cloud of daisies. How many meadows did Kanye cartwheel across before he decided to make this beat? Seriously yo….

Seriously.

Update: The review was not written by Ghostface but it is still hilarious. (thx, all)

Legal advice from Jay-Z

posted by Jason Kottke   May 10, 2011

A gem of a Q&A from Quora: How valid is the implied legal advice in Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”? The lyrics, in part:

“Well do you mind if I look around the car a little bit?”
Well my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back
And I know my rights, so you gon’ need a warrant for that

And the answer:

Consenting to a voluntary search is never a good idea, especially if you have felony weight on you. The standard to search the glove compartment is actually fairly low in California, since it’s accessible to the driver. I’m not sure how the locked status interferes with it being a glove compartment. The trunk can be opened if the car is impounded, for inventory reasons, which is a common way to get evidence. However, a locked case inside the trunk will not be opened (depends on the state).

(via ★kellan)

Jay-Z and Gwyneth interview each other

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 12, 2011

They each have a personal brand web site — Gwyneth has GOOP and Jay-Z has the recently launched Life + Times — so they recently decided to interview each other about that. Here’s Z Qing G:

SC: Personally I was very surprised at your extensive knowledge of hip-hop songs. Particularly how you can sing ’90s hip-hip songs word for word. I can’t even do that! How does a girl from Spence discover hip-hop?

GP: I first was exposed to hip-hop when I was about 16 (1988) by some boys who went to collegiate. The Beastie Boys were sort of the way in for us preppie kids. We were into Public Enemy, Run-DMC and LL Cool J. But then I went to LA the summer between my junior and senior year of high school and I discovered N.W.A which became my obsession. I was fascinated by lyrics as rythym and how Dre had a such different cadence and perspective from say, Eazy-E, who I thought was one of the most ironic and brilliant voices hip-hop has ever had. It was an accident that I learned every word of Straight Outta Compton and to love something that a.) I had no real understanding of in terms of the culture that it was emanating from and b.) to love something that my parents literally could not grasp. But I was hooked. I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night but I could sing to you every single word of N.W.A’s “Fuck Tha Police” or [Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s] “It Takes Two.” Go figure.

And here’s G Qing Z:

GP: You are the coolest man on Earth, how the f did you get like that?

SC: I’m around great women, starting with my mom. Women keep men cool. The hotter the chick the cooler the guy … that sounds like a really bad rap line!

What a couple of huge cornballs! And I mean that in the best way possible.

Jay-Z’s empire

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2010

If this profile of Jay-Z in the WSJ is any indication, the guy doesn’t seem to have any problems anymore.

In his office, by a coffee table stacked with art books (Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha), his Forbes magazine and a humidor, he perches on the edge of a chair with his fingers tucked into his pockets. He says he’ll always rap about variations on the same themes: drug hustling, business boasts, luxury hopscotching from Gucci to Louis Vuitton to the new Dior suit he says is a perfect fit. They’re all narrative devices:

“I’m just describing a scene, but the crux of the story is the message. Almost like a movie. Setting: South of France. This is what’s happening. This guy from out the projects who didn’t graduate from high school is now living this sort of life. And this is how he got here.”