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4:44 - Yes, another 4:44 post...

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I’m still bringing it up because there needs to be these types of discussions. All this leisurely hip-hopping is disgusting.

First and foremost: 4:44 IS a great album. And, Jay-Z is still the Best Rapper Alive.* Now, let me address the elephant in the room.  I’m an old school hip-hop head (dare I say it, an old-head).  I come from the era of the MC. I could elaborate further but if I need to, you probably wouldn’t understand. The newer hip-hop/rap, in my opinion, births rappers (and a culture of fans) with relatively shorter careers/lifespans and stunted growth/maturity. Not too many artists from the past eras (or even the current era) could drop an album after 40 (damn near 50) and still have as much of an impact and relevance as Jay did here. This album was just so appropriate. He didn’t try to fit in with the current wave of music. It would’ve felt forced and unnatural. If you’re 47 years old and have the same mindset as these current 20-something year old artists, (and sadly enough, some of the 30/40 something’s too…) after all you’ve seen and been through, then…

But then again, Jay HAS been talking about pretty much the same stuff since he came out. I think it would be fair to say that he’s been pretty consistent as far as his Robb Report aspirations and lifestyle goes. 4:44 has the same old Jay-Z talk, but there seems to be an honesty and maturity level to this album that I don’t see in other ‘commercial’ rapper’s albums now. I’m thinking of the Rick Rosses and the Young Jeezy’s, who still cling to the one foot in, one foot out of the streets and drug game tropes. These tropes fuel the negative stigmas and stereotypes that we are still struggling to escape today. To have an album from that former street dude that focuses on the Black family, and legacy and wealth in a responsible manner, at this junction of the ascendance of Black culture and consciousness is highly appropriate.

BUT it’s not a conscious album. Is it? And Jay-Z is not a conscious rapper; is he? We can get into all the Illuminati and occultic references. Or his apparently blasphemous assertions and his perceived allegiance to D’evils. That’s a whole other conversation (albeit a long important one). That is all VERY debatable, but I want to close out with an old ‘freestyle’ Jay-Z dropped on Funk Flex (Most Kingz/Grammy Family).

I tried to transcribe the verse (the lyrics are below the video for those who still like to read), but there are some spotty areas that I couldn’t decipher. If anyone has any corrections, let me know.

*Note – I can name about 20 MC’s who are better lyricists than Jay-Z too. By Best Rapper Alive, I’m taking into consideration about 15 other metrics that your favorite rapper lacks.

Jay-Z's Grammy Family freestyle

Jay-Z:

“Say when (When)

Inspired by Basquiat, My chariots are fire

Everybody took shots hit my body up I’m tired

Build me up break me down to build me up again

They like Hov, we need you back so we can kill yo ass again

Hov got flow, tho he’s no Big and Pac, but he’s close

How I’m s’posed to win, they got me fighting ghosts

Man

Same Suge ig-Knight you (same sword they knight you),

they gonna good night you with

Shh…That’s only half if they like you,

that ain’t even the half what they might do

Don’t believe me, ask Michael

See Martin, see Malcolm

You see Biggie, see Pac. see success and its outcome

See Jesus, see Judas. See Caesar, see Brutus

See, success is like suicide. Suicide it’s a suicide

If you succeed, prepare to be crucified

Media meddles, niggas sue you, you settle

Every step you take, they remind you, you ghetto.

So it’s tough being Bobby Brown.

To be Bobby then, you gotta be Bobby now.

Now the question is, is to have had and lost

Better than not having at..

Man

Everybody wanna be King. The shots ring

You laying on ya balcony with holes in your dream

Or you’re Malcolm X’ed out, get distracted by screams

Everybody get your hand out my jeans

Everybody look at you strange n say you changed

Like you worked that hard to stay the same

Game stayed the same. The name changed

So it’s best for those to not overdose on being famous

Most kings get driven so insane

That they try to hit the same vein that Curt Kobain did

No danger is so gainless

Get right up to the inner sanctum of yo chambers

Low chained em. The (the end of me is) enemy’s approaching

So raise your drawbridge, and drown em in the moat

The spirit I’m invoking…

Hold on

Everybody screaming they want the old Hov

But the new improved Hov hit like Albert Pujols

Everybody wanna hear me talk that money like Phil Rizzuto

But my mind is on Pluto

Bills that I do fold, I now invest

On trying to find some loopholes in the IRS

Swear I use to have a few hoes, I am just

concentrating on making a new Hov through sex

I’ve awakened just to try to school those putos

Tryna follow in my shoes with jewels froze (but you was froze?)

Better adhere to this text before you go

Broke, spending more than you’ve accrued

On silly baguettes

I know silly begets silly, you’ll learn on your own

At least my conscience is clear, I’m no longer steering you wrong

Ain’t nothing wrong with baguettes after you get a home

Take care of your own, you can go back and, uh

I’m getting courted by the bosses

The Edgar’s and Doug Morris’, the Jimmy I’s and Lyor’s

Gotta be more than the choruses. They respecting my mind now

Just a matter of time now. Operation: Take Over Corporate

Makeover offices then take over all of it

Please may these words be recorded

To serve as testimony that I saw it all before it

Came to fruition, sort of a premonition

Uncontrollable hustler’s ambition. Alien superstition

Like Stevie. The writing’s on the wall like my Lady, right Be’by?

Saw it all before n shit, but y’all thought I was crazy, maybe like a fox

I’m KG (cagey).

The more successful, the more stressful.

The more I transform into Gordon Gecko

And the race to a billion got my face to the ceiling

My knees on the floor, please Lord forgive him

Has he lost his religion? Is the greed gonna get him?

He’s having Heaven on Earth. Will his wings still fit him?

I got the Forbes on my living room floor

And I’m so ? Motherfucker I want more

TIME’s Most Influential was impressive

Especially since I wasn’t in the Artist section

Had me with the builders and the titans

Had me right with Rupert Murdoch

Billionaire boys and some dudes you never heard of

Word up on Madison Ave is I’m a cash cow

Word down on Wall Street homie, you get to cash out

IPO Hov, no need for reverse merger

The boy money talk, no need to converse further

The baby blue Maybach like I own Gerber

Boardroom I’m lifting your skirt up, the corporate take…”

 

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