“DIRT OFF MY SHOULDER”
It’s literally on record that when Timbaland and Jay-Z share the same page they’re an unstoppable force. Timbaland’s zany keys and addictive bass knock allowed Hov to give one of this album’s best performances. With foolish flow and a pimp’s perceived persona as his metaphor, S. Dot inspired all to not only put their best foot forward, but not let obstruction (hater, habitat or other) impede forward movement. He even gives you personal examples for motivation: he rose from one of the worst neighborhoods in America to reach the top of Billboard’s charts, repeatedly; he now watches his favorite TV show, ESPN’s Sportscenter, at his very own sports-themed nightclub, 40/40; while dope boys root for him and admire that his escape from the illegal life has grown his hustle, MC’s hate because they can’t match the efforts of the best rapper alive.
10 years later…
This record is an unofficial Hip-Hop anthem. Its inspirational m.o. has spread so transcendently that the current and first Black President of the United States Barack Obama was seen on his initial campaign trail in 2008 dismissing haters by brushing his own shoulder (Yes, he used the wrong hand, but hey, it’s the sentiment that counts!). Months after Barack’s nod to Jay, Mrs. Carter would too be moved by her hubby’s work. She would release the track “Diva,” which hook plays like a feminist version of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” (“A diva is a female version of a hustla.”).
Though Timbaland sporadically produced for Jay over the last decade––the two had a minor fall out until reconciling for the making of MCHG––they wouldn’t produce anything near the potency of “Dirt…” until collabing for Jay’s latest and finest produced composition since The Black Album.