December 4th is known for plenty of things. One of those things happens to be the birthday for one of the all-time greats in music, none other than Jay Z himself.
For over 20 years, hip hop mogul Jay Z has been a force on an off the mic for the genre of hip hop/rap. With over 12 studio albums in addition to 3 collaboration albums, his longevity and consistency speaks volumes. Also aside from his business on the mic, Hov is also exceptional on the businessman aspect.
His involvement with Rocawear, the Brooklyn Nets, the 40/40 club, Roc Nation, Budweiser, and Tidal (yes Tidal), among others are well documented. He is pretty hands on as an entrepreneur as he, Dr. Dre, Russell Simmons, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, are all elite in that department. Many rappers should try and emulate what they do when it comes to things that go beyond rap itself.
Going back to the tunes, Jay is arguably the best in the genre when it comes to making exactly that. He knows how to put the pieces in the right place to make a good song.
The guy is talented at rapping knowing how to sell himself while being witty and clever. In recent times however, he has not been the Jay Z of the old. Rap is more of a young man’s game and while his name will continue to be a good draw, the quality of his verses usually underwhelm (good examples would be Pound Cake with Drake and the remix to Don’t Kill My Vibe with Kendrick Lamar off the top of my head).
Dudes just get old and that’s fine. However that’s the thing, as he ages, his projects age pretty well which is the key. People like to bring up that he’s overrated compared to his generational contemporaries like Eminem, Nas, Tupac, KRS-One, or Guru but the thing is, a lot of these guys don’t have albums that age particularly well among the masses.
Eminem is spectacular at what he does and is a legend in his own right but if people had a choice, I’d bet the majority would prefer to listen to Reasonable Doubt over the Marshall Mathers LP. Jay Z creates music that can extend through instead of it having to age like a banana which happens to be a problem some hip hop artist have.
Mr. Carter may not be the best straight up lyricist in history but his overall craft and ability pits him close and the influence he has is unquestionable. He definitely has a place in my top 5 greatest rappers, maybe even top 3. If you disagree, that is fine. To each their own. He does have his high points like Reasonable Doubt and American Gangster then he has his low points like MCHG and Kingdom Come. However, it’s important to take notice of his impact and career. If you’re aware of who he is but haven’t taken the time to listen to some of his work then I encourage you to do so.
If you have any comments or facts you have, list them in the comments section or shoot me a tweet or an email.
Welcome to the AD report.