“MOMENT OF CLARITY”
There are many moments on The Black Album where Jay allows himself to be vulnerable, but this track may be the most emotionally thorough. Over Eminem’s looming production, Marcy’s pen-less scribe writes his own catharsis. After finding more peace with the passing of his father, Jay addresses the criticism he’s received for diluting the lyrical intricacy of his earliest work in exchange for platinum riches. Here, he admits to this unapologetically, then retorts that although he wishes he could focus on the pure art of rhyme writing as much as Talib Kweli or Common, his priority is building an empire. Empires aren’t cheap––they cost millions to attain and maintain. In depth verses alone don’t afford you the capital to raise families and communities out of poverty or the opportunity to employ the needy or talented. Hov wanted his critics to understand that his decision to dumb his content down was one of true smarts.
10 years later…
Jay looks even smarter for his pen’s balancing act. With acts who have succeeded over the last ten years without possessing high-grade rap skills (ie. Young Jeezy and Wiz Khalifa) as well as stars like Nicki Minaj, whose biggest records are far from lyrical, it’s clear Carter knew what he was doing after going 5X platinum in 1998. Yet in Jay-Z’s constant defense, his ability to craft hit records that are nestled with premium wordplay is what has made him a God MC. Perfect examples of Hov’s Libra gift are the Sinatra x Hip-Hop Big Apple anthem “Empire State of Mind” and the global force that’s he and Ye’s “Niggas In Paris.” That both are hit records and Jay’s bars on each are premium is equally undeniable. Pretty sure Jay doesn’t desire rhyming like Common anymore.