Always ahead of the curve
April 14, 2016 11:45 AM   Subscribe

What is it to know your time is up when nothing in your body has betrayed you? "Wasn't Born Hustlers: The Aging of Jay-Z", by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib for MTV.
"Last week, Drake released 'Pop Style,' a single that is, ostensibly, laying the groundwork for Drake’s long-awaited fourth album, Views From the 6. The airy, infectious song features The Throne. The Throne is, of course, Kanye West and Jay Z. There’s Drake: ruminating on fame, force-feeding pop culture references into a verse already crowded with them. There’s Kanye West: vengeful, boastful, self-referencing. If you coughed, sneezed, or took a heavy enough breath, you may have missed Jay Z. He was there, though. A single line, five seconds, and a cloud of dust.

"'They still out to get me, they don’t get it / I cannot be gotten, that’s a given'

"And then he vanishes.
Previously: Tidal, Grandmaster Caz to Drake
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by prepmonkey at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2016

I just came here to say that love that MTV gave Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib a regular writing gig (outside of Twitter+Poetry).
posted by togdon at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:09 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

That was lyrical. Thank you.
posted by donnagirl at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2016

More obligatory?

I think Jay-Z has been quite honest about not making much of an effort -- I read somewhere he's devoted to making zero preparation. But he has absolutely nothing to prove after so many great albums. Also I think tastes have changed dramatically since Reasonable Doubt and Blueprint (the first). Jay-Z will always be cool, but it's a post-Lil Wayne, post-trap world and it's almost like people don't go for 'cool' as much as crazy. If Kanye didn't inspire fanatic devotion (because we all admire his ambition if not always his music) I think even he would be struggling with the way things are, with super energetic, shouty rap being so popular.

Still there were some amazing tracks on Watch the Throne, I don't think that's in dispute, and that wasn't too long ago. I still gets shivers watching this seriously historic performance. (Was 2011 really five years ago? Yeesh.)
posted by Cassettevetes at 5:03 PM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think Jay explained it perfectly himself. At this point, in the post-weezy/post-trap world, I think the perfect third (fourth?) act would be to hook up with someone outside of his comfort zone RTJ-style and drop a decade worth of those Common raps, but I'm guessing he doesn't mind being a stay at home dad.
posted by togdon at 1:13 PM on April 15, 2016

... and Hanif today: "I also think that Common has done a great job aging and adapting. His style/type of rapping has allowed for that in a way that Jay's hasn't."
posted by togdon at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2016

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