This devilish fire exhibits a heated Jay-Z over scorching Kanye production. Similar to his couplets on “Dead Presidents,” the Jigga Man once again finds himself exorcising thoughts of revenge for a slain friend. Differing from the 1996 single that introduced him to rap masses, his approach here is more warning than confessional. It’s also not Jay speaking solely for himself. Listen farther and you’ll hear him echoing the frustration of those who have to go to school and work, raise families, essentially survive daily in proverbial war zones; the many involuntary soldiers who are faced with commit murder or be murdered. Jay tells that he doesn’t want these thoughts of revenge and murder anymore. They’re blocking his soul’s good energy and risking all that he’s built. He asked that we pray for the souls of he, his deceased friend and living adversary. All three men are sinners, but at their core they’re good.
10 years later…
It’s the producer of this song whose hometown is today’s murder capital. In fact, Jay’s line “We’re from the murder capital, where we murder for capital,” was borrowed eight years later by Kanye for the Watch The Throne beauty “Murder To Excellence.” Fortunately for Hov, life in 2013 offers much more peace than it did in 2003. In fact, on the aforementioned WTT track, he’s in a polar opposite space than the one he occupies on “Lucifer.” Without the beret and leather jacket, he begs for community unity and an end to senseless black-on-black killing. But though beef for him today is as rare as the butcher’s choice, Hovi still makes it clear that he’s the wrong one to be tested. Once in a while he may have to warn an MC that any offense to his family will require they relocate theirs, but normally life for the Carter’s is his Achilles heel: all love.