Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
I realized the other day, while listening to The Blueprint 3 why I don't listen to a whole lot of hip hop. It's not that I don't like it. There is just so much information to digest! Line after line is filled with proclamations, declarations, statements, questions, things to consider, life lessons, and words of wisdom. Sometimes these things are of dubious truthfulness, but that's not the point really. My brain has a hard time not running off on tangents and the rapid-fire delivery of hip hop tends to cause several mini tangents per song. It's exhausting. For instance, in first song, "What We Talkin' About" Jay-Z regales us with the following:

Grown men want me to sit em on my lap
But I don't have a beard and Santa Claus ain't black

I mean, how can these two lines not completely clobber my brain? First of all, why do grown men want to sit on Jay-Z's lap? What is their incentive? And, taking for granted that this statement is true, why does Jay-Z want us to know this? It just doesn't seem like something he'd want to brag about. Especially since he doesn't want them to sit on his lap. Which we know because, as he tells us, he doesn't have a beard. And beardless men clearly have no desire for grown ass men to sit on them. And though I think a quick Craigslist search could easily refute this, for the sake of moving on, I'll accept it. But this whole, "Santa Claus ain't black" thing? Wow. First of all, Jay-Z clearly didn't come over my house that one Christmas when my mom totally procrastinated on the gift wrap buying until the last minute, and ended up with "ethnic Santa" print paper. Why would they make that paper if there wasn't a chance Santa could be black, hmm? Also, I have a feeling that a decent chunk of Jay-Z's fan base isn't telling their kids stories about some fat white man coming into the house in the middle of the night once a year to deliver presents. Maybe he should've considered the conversations parents might be forced into when their young children hear their hero, Jay-Z, denouncing the race of their beloved brown Santa. Also, why are parents letting their still-believing-in-Santa age children listen to Jay-Z?

Then one song later, there's this whopper:

I was gonna kill a couple rappers
But they did it to themselves
I was gon' do it with the flow
But they did it with their sales
I was gon' 9/11 'em, but they didn't need the help

Whoa. Whoa. Where do you start? “9/11 ‘em?” Really? Is that allowed? I mean, I know it’s been a few years, but I was unaware that such a phrase had made its way into the vernacular. Does this mean we can soon expect to hear parents say to their kids at the supermarket, “Jimmy, you put those Necco Wafers back and hold momma’s hand or I'll 9/11 you right here in the store!” It’s not like this was completely unforeseeable. People say things like, “If I had to be on hold with AT&T for one more minute I was gonna commit hara-kiri” and nobody really believes they were seconds away from slashing open their own abdomen and letting their innards drop to the floor. And what about a Kamikaze? That’s a yummy drink with lime juice, vodka and triple sec, not some nutty guy in a plane on a suicide mission. Also, both those terms are like from ancient history (like people from the WW II era are even alive anymore!) and both deal with the Japanese! Who are zany! So of course Americans love to use these terms freely as they overdramatically describe mundane aspects of their lives! But "gon’ 9/11 ‘em?” I’m not trying to sound strident – I’m just surprised that it only took eight years to get to this point. Never forget.

See? And here we are only two songs in and I’m mentally exhausted. Don’t even get me started about “For the Color Of Money like a Tom Cruise flick, 'cept I put 8-balls in corners without using pool sticks.”


Jean-Luc Garbo said...

You raise a good point. However, that's why I love rap. I really want to hear this album now. How were the beats?

Laura said...

It's really solid from a beat perspective - certainly worth hearing. Let me know what you think of it!

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