The Black Album’s first song––Jay’s Just Blaze-scored autobio––touched on a constant in the Shawn Carter narrative: the absence of his father. There isn’t a composition in the latter half of Jay-Z’s catalogue that doesn’t note the parental crater which devastated before affording misdirection––being the unsupervised youngest in a single-parent housing project home, young Young would duck poverty and survive the concrete jungle that his window faced by becoming an animal (specie: dope dealer). According to the God MC, he never pursued the life of a street pharmacist––drugs found, enticed, then hooked him. With twisted irony, the process of selling death and despair would introduce Jay to unhealthy emotional states (i.e. distrust, paranoia, emotional unavailability). Although, hiss estranged father passed some months before The Black Album’s release, it’s on this track where he first admits to finding peace with his absentee Pops (“Moment of Clarity” follows).
10 Years later…
Jay hasn’t healed from growing up without his father and is beginning to realize that he may never. On “Jay-Z Blue,” off his latest album Magna Carter Holy Grail, he reminds us once more that his fall into the under world was encouraged by a father-less household (“Only hugged the block cause I thought my Daddy didn’t love me!”–“Jay-Z Blue”). But while the paranoia has remained from “Regrets” to “Dec 4” on, its effect has shifted. On the aforementioned MCHG track, the MC who once boasted of having “cashmere chromosomes” never sounded so nervous. He’s a father and husband whose realizing he possesses many of his Dad’s characteristics. His biggest fear now is that he actually becomes his father; that he brings the same hurt or, worse, absence to his family. Shawn Corey’s Dad never taught him how to be a father or how to treat a mother, so he’s learning on the fly. The stakes are at their highest for the Brooklyn gambler. More than ever before, he must own his classic slogan: I will not lose.