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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Kleeer et Jay-Z

Thank you to everybody who took the time to read my post on Tuesday, the love I received was overwhelming….I love hip-hop and am happy to share that love and passion with everyone else. I’m filling in for my brother Kevin Casey for this week’s edition of “Sample Saturday” and hope you all enjoy…
There’s a lot of anticipation surrounding the Jay-Z and Kanye West release, “Watch The Throne”, and although I am definitely hype about the album, but with two underwhelming singles and rumors of dub-step influenced production, I feel wary about setting my expectations too high. Before I go on, let me make it clear that this is in no means a knock against Jay-Z, he is one of my favorite rappers ever and is someone I truly look up to both as an artist and a businessman, but to be real, he’s been putting out some lackluster efforts. I understand that as an artist, you have to evolve to remain relevant, but it seems like Hov is more interested in Jay-Z the “businessman” instead of Jay-Z the “multi-platinum MC”. Hov has undoubtedly had one of the best, most consistent careers in hip-hop, and look at him now: beautiful wife, more money than most can dream about, a stacked roster of musicians, and numerous business opportunites that will pay considerable dividends. Has he lost that hunger and ambition that has made him the undisputed “King of New York”, or does he have one more trick up his sleeve and is ready to shock the world with “Watch the Throne”.

“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…”

Jay-Z – Intro

Kleeer – She Use To Love Me

-Pete

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