“I’m also lucky never to have needed the approval of the gatekeepers in the industry because from the start we came into the game as entrepreneurs. That gave me the freedom to just be myself, which is the secret to any long-term success, but that’s hard to see when you’re young and desperate just to get on…” – Jay-Z (from “Decoded”)
I came across this quote last night, and it got me thinking; has Jay gone against his initial principles of staying true to himself? Lately, it seems as if he is trying to keep up, instead of being the trendsetter that everyone is so used to seeing. On “Blueprint 3”, and his features since then (Drake’s “Light Up” for example), it seems as if Jay has dumbed down, and not just for his audience as he proclaimed on “The Black Album”, but because he seems tired, almost bored of hip-hop as an art. Hov’s evolution as an artist has seen him go from street hustler to ambitious MC to top of the game to…..What’s next? Once you’ve reached the top, how do you stay hungry to maintain that position?
Whenever people ask me what my favorite Jay-Z song is, without hesitation, I tell them the “Intro” from his 2000 release “Dynasty: Roc La Familia”. This, in my opinion, is the epitomie of a MC at the top of his game, you can feel the hunger through his words and the determination to destroy any competitor. In my opinion, Hov’s stretch from 2000-2004 was his prime, and one of the greatest runs for any MC ever. If we can get a few tracks on “Watch The Throne” where he spits as hard as he did on “Intro” it will further cement his legacy as one of the best to ever do it.
This is food for thought, you do the dishes…”