“Dear Jay, why you leaving the game baby? You know what I’m sayin’… You supposed to stay here and keep it thorough and finish reppin’ you know what I mean?” –Ghostface Killah
Sure, we’ve all clearly seen this movie before but I don’t want to see it again! I’m afraid we don’t have much of a choice though. It seems, God forbid, Jay Z has faded to black again! Except this time, there’s no movie, there’s no announcement, and there’s no warning. How dare he? Here I am sounding like an entitled fan, because fans almost always feel entitled, but this is hard for me. I remember 2003. I remember watching the victory lap that was supposed to be Jay Z’s last ride off into the sunset and I was just as unprepared then as I am now. Probably more so now. This time it’s not accompanying a power move in the forefront like the Def jam presidency. This time there’s no promise of still doing features and remixes. No disrespect to Tidal, because I love it and have been a subscriber since day one, but this time there’s nothing to really look forward to. For perspective, let’s remember that this is all speculation but it really feels like there’s no coming back out to rap more after everyone screams “Hova” during “Encore” at Hov’s shows like I have done more times than I can count. I’ve never wanted to be more wrong, but if I’m right, what does this mean for us? For the fans? For the culture? For Hip-Hop?
“They say they never really miss you until you dead or you gone so on that note I’m leaving after this song” the irony of Hov saying this on the opening song of Black Album then continued to for another 12 songs is that as much as he thought he could leave, he couldn’t. That song was followed by “What More Can I Say?” but for another 11 songs he clearly had more to say. 5 albums later there was a lot more to say. I say all that to say, there’s always seemingly more to say but maybe he just doesn’t want to say it anymore. I don’t know if I’m ready to face that fact. One of the reasons Jay Z is without question my favorite rapper ever and simultaneously the Greatest Rapper of All Time in my opinion is because he always was self aware and assure enough to give new perspective based on his actual life. Because “Yall record, I recall” as he vehemently proclaimed on “Moment of Clarity” is his truth, there will always be lyrical flashbacks into the life of Shawn Carter the hustler but Jay Z unlike any other rapper have been able to document his growth and new life experiences just as well as he documented the relationship with the friend turned foe he used to fight for building blocks with. Those new experiences have always given me insight on what to expect next in the next stages of my life. I can’t relate to having hundreds of millions of dollars but I can relate to the emotion. Have a friend do a lot of years in jail and calling you for hope. Having survivor’s guilt of being successful from a neighborhood full of untapped potential and the sacrificial burden that comes with that. Also taking for granted the fact that I’m actually comfortable three steps removed from that neighborhood and those activities safely when I start thinking of how annoyed the issues in present day make me. Nobody paints these pictures in a realistic, thorough, and cool way than William H. I’m coming to terms with I’ll just have the old albums after listening to Memphis Bleek interview with The Breakfast Club where he talks about Hov not having any real motivation to do music anymore in the midst of running 16 businesses. The same sentiment is shared when Timbaland speaks on how hard it is for Hov to continue to pull content from so far into his memory bank, there’s truly a million dollars in it baby, Hillary Swank!
So in conclusion, If Magna Carta Holy Grail was indeed the last offer in album form we get from Hov aka Jigga Man aka Cashmere Brown aka William H aka Iceberg slim and he has quietly faded to black… “The game’s f**** up nigga”
Just My Thoughts