December 4th is always bittersweet. In 1969, a star was born in Shawn Carter and in 2007 we lost Chad Butler. In commemoration of the shared date, we get a posthumous verse from Pimp C on Hov’s “Tom Ford.” Braggadocios yet honest, Uncle Chad gives new life to the song, which already sets any party or club off.
Reasonable Doubt is arguably Jay-Z’s best album to date and trust; I use the term “arguably” lightly. From a production standpoint it may not parallel his later projects, but it was the album that broke him, the album as he says, “he spent his entire life making.” It is all too easy to act as if I was down since day one, but honestly at nine years old there was no way I could have understood the complexities, the metaphors and the brutal honesty of Shawn Carter. I was very much a product of commercial Hip-Hop at that point, influenced by artists and groups with mainstream credibility and radio airplay. New York Hip-Hop was everything in the mid-90s and although I heard most of the singles, most of the songs that are deemed as classic, in 1996 Jay-Z was not on my radar. His second offering, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 was looked at with more than a bit of cynicism due to the mainstream feel and although at times he has been somewhat Teflon in terms of criticism, that “Always Be My Sunshine” video was hilariously terrible.
Jay Z & Justin Timberlake let go of the first video off of Magna Carta Holy Grail.
“We’re artists. We’re cousins,” he says. With the video he hopes he’s “Bringing the worlds back together. I try not to have any expectations going into a performance.”
Jay Z’s artistic piece is finally is up for viewing. Legendary artists and actors all brought into a room through director Mark Romanek’s lenses. Inspired by Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist Is Present” exhibit, select people take turns facing off with Hov as he raps to the “Picasso Baby” track. Shot at Pace Gallery in New York City, Jay Z narrates, explaining the concept of the video and his thoughts on hip-hop as performance art.
A collaboration sported by a Magna Carta Holy Grail-ed Jay-Z by French contemporary brand Surface to Air and Aaron Young. You can buy the crewneck sweater along with an entire series of tees from the collaboration online as well. The series consists of three sweatshirts and three styled tees that share the same anti-tourist slurs including “Locals Only!”, “Go Home” and “Go Back To The Valley!”. Now available online.
Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam
Samsung Exclusive Release 7/4/2013
Physical Release 7/7/2013
Late Pass Requested! Ok, well, not really. I kind of just wanted to wait until the hype about the record died down a bit. Those that keep up with my reviews know that I try my best to keep it thoro (re: Prodigy of Mobb Deep) as possible. That means, I have to assess the music for what it is, not for the hype around it. The sudden announcement of a new Jay-Z album in the middle of June, set for weeks later, sent the entire world into a frenzy. The unconventional roll out of the LP sent the anticipation through the roof, with a commercial during the NBA Finals featuring Hov, Rick Rubin, and producers Timbaland and Pharrell Williams, who are both heavily involved in the production. Well, let’s get to it, shall we…
Revolt TV provides us with a short documentary featuring Timbaland, who produced a large amount of material on Jay-Z’s new album. Timbaland opens up during the interview, speaking on the past and present. The documentary is worth the watch and may lead to future album with good friend, Kanye West.
Hov shook up the internet earlier today while he was on Twitter, and “he ain’t even in to that.” Here is Dead Presidents 3, after Hov gave Young Guru the ok to let go of the record.