Kanye-West-Jay-Z-Whats-Free-Meek-Mill-Billboard
Michael Buckner/Getty Images For BET

Jay-Z Disses Billboard, Not Kanye West, And Proves His Point With Ease

Pay attention. 

Friendships have wonderful highs and belligerent lows. When it comes to potentially lifelong ones like Jay-Z and Kanye West's, those are deeper than rap.

Meek Mill's highly anticipated album Championships didn't reach day-old status before outlets (including us) quickly picked up "What's Free," an elite collaboration with Meek, Jay-Z, and Rick Ross, yanking Jay's lyrics from the track and dissecting them to fit the "Jay vs. Kanye" news vertical. All of the men speak truths about criminal justice systems and levels of black plight felt from black kids at the bodegas to black men in the boardroom. With all three facing oppression on the side of success, Jay took time to bring this to light, by not dissing West.

Let's read the lyrics again, courtesy of Genius:

No red hat, don't Michael and Prince me and Ye
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince's DNA, uh
I ain't one of these house n***as you bought
My house like a resort, my house bigger than yours
My spou- (C'mon, man)

He even dug deep for his Twitter password to clarify the bars.

Sure, Jay isn't with the politics of President Donald Trump nor Ye's attraction to it. He's made that clear in the past, along with the 52.6 percent of Americans who also disapprove the disgruntled cheeto. His Michael Jackson and Prince line is what best describes his friendship with his former protégé, which isn't a diss at all.

While Prince and MJ had two completely different styles of R&B, funk and pop allure, the two kept up one hell of a competitive rivalry. From the infamous James Brown "duel" to Prince's refusal to take part in "Bad" or "We Are The World," their back and forth was something people recognized but didn't intensify. With Jay and Kanye in aerial positions, the digital peanut gallery foams at the mouth at the mere sign of a name drop or reference. It also doesn't help that Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kim Kardashian-West, two women who are influential in their own right, are often brought into the conversation for the sake of clicks and platinum SEO practices. Jay's message with those lines is that despite their differences, he won't allow them to positioned as rivals.

What should be taken from this verse is Jay's undeniable influence over the culture. His dig at our cousin platform Billboard and philosophy around what should truly matter in music sales will permeate the minds of his peers and aspiring musicians in no time.

Now, read those lyrics again.

I ain't got a billion streams, got a billion dollars
Inflating numbers like we 'posed to be happy about this
We was praised in Billboard, but we were young
Now I look at Billboard like, "Is you dumb?"

Jay's Magna Carter Holy Grail may sit low on the ranking of his best albums, but it changed how the RIAA determined the eligibility of platinum and gold plaques. "Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date," revealed Liz Kennedy, the director of the RIAA's Gold & Platinum Program in 2013 after the album went platinum immediately thanks to his partnership with Samsung for the MCHG's release.

But Billboard didn't count the sales, which more than likely could've given Jay another No. 1 album. Years later, Jay's experimental promotion is typical with Travis Scott's scoring the largest selling album of 2018 with Astroworld thanks to his merch-album bundle. While Nicki Minaj did a similar tactic with Queen and bowed at No. 2 on the charts, there's no denying that Jay (along with Prince and Madonna who toyed with this formula in 2004 and 2012 respectively) opened doors for the music industry to change its rules at the expense of his art.

With Jay dropping bars aimed at dismantling systems, we're sure to see some more changes in streaming culture soon. This year, he took aim at the Grammys on Everything Is Love cut "Apesh*t." He also revealed how he turned down a halftime show gig for the Super Bowl, forcing us all to deal with Maroon 5 on the stage.

Jay's words not only bump hard, but they also cut with visceral lethal precision.

After all, when is the last time you've had Cristal?

Listen to "What's Free" below.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Listen To Brandy's Highly Anticipated ‘B7’ Album

Brandy’s new album, B7, arrived on Friday (July 31). Led by the single “Baby Mama,” the 15-track album about love, heartbreak and growth, includes appearances from  Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caeser, and Brandy's teenage daughter, Sy'rai Smith, who joins her mother on the track “High Heels.”

Along with the new album -- her first since 2012 -- Brandy debuted the music video for her latest single, “Borderline.”

“I spilled so much of my heart on this album,” she proudly told fans during a listening party on YouTube on Thursday (July 30).

In a more sobering moment from the virtual party, Brandy opened up about the death of her friend and producer, Lashawn Daniels. “It feels very strange although I’m excited and grateful to have the music out, it’s just hard not having him here to hear the complete project,” she said.

“But I take him with me wherever I go. I know everything he ever said to me, ever taught me, and what he told me, I can hold onto that. If I ever feel down about my gift there’s a few things that he told me to remind me that I have no reason to feel down at all.”

Speaking with Billboard, the Grammy winner discussed the importance of Black female R&B artists sharing content, especially during these turbulent times.

“I believe that music heals. Music is the language that we all speak. It is what we all need, and I feel like we need it more now than we ever have,” she explained. “This is the year where we all need to feel like we have something to get us through. ... I was a little hesitant with putting out music in this time because, of course, you want to speak to the times. And I'm thinking, ‘My music is not about exactly what's going on right now.’ But then I thought, ‘But this is the time where people need to feel like they have something to just escape and just help them heal.’ ...that's what made me feel better about releasing [the album].

“And I think that we don’t want to feel alone,” added Brandy. “We need to feel community, we need to feel togetherness, we need to feel love right now. And I think music is the best way to feel that. It’s the shortcut to feeling that right away.”

Stream B7 below.

Continue Reading
Chris McKay/Getty Images

T.I. And Jeezy Discuss Potentially Squashing Beef With Gucci Mane

T.I. and Jeezy are thinking about reconnecting with the “third member of the Mt. Rushmore of Trap Music.” During an episode of the Expeditiously Tip podcast, the Atlanta rappers pondered the idea of squashing the beef with Gucci Mane.

“Now what do you think is necessary to bring that sh*t together if anything,” the Grand Hustle leader asked Jeezy. “And I understand we dealing with somebody who’s temperamental themselves..our sh*t that we got with us versus their sh*t that they got with them makes it extremely problematic.”

Tip added that linking with Guwop could be a big move for trap music.

“I just feel like we got to have one of those mafia, back room conversations,” said Jeezy. “What I’ve learned over the years is like this sh*t [is] big business. People that went to Yale still do business with people that went to Harvard. So it’s just one of those convos [that needs to happen]. It’s been decades.”

Tip and Jeezy also discussed the breakdown of their relationship with Gucci, and setting their differences aside. Though Gucci and Jeezy have been beefing for over 10 years, it seems that Tip  fell into the drama by siding with the Snowman.

Watch a clip of their discussion below.

T.I. and Jeezy want to have a conversation with Gucci Mane to squash their beef pic.twitter.com/QNJAHdaqoS

— Complex Ambition (@ComplexAmbition) July 28, 2020

Continue Reading
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Jhene Aiko Taps Kehlani, Wiz Khalifa, Mila J For Deluxe Edition Of ‘Chilombo’

Jhene Aiko expanded the guest list for the deluxe edition of her Chilombo album released on Friday (July 17). The updated album is packed with 29 tracks, featuring guest appearances from Kehlani, Snoop Dogg, Mila J, and Chris Brown.

Kehlani joins Aiko and H.E.R. on the remix to “B.S,” while Snoop and Chris Brown hop on “Tryna Smoke,” and Wiz Khalifa drops a guest verse on “Down Again.”

Aiko connects with her older sister, Mila J, for “OTW,” and  it looks like the musical collaboration has been a long time coming. “Finally got a song with my big sister,” Aiko happily tweeted on Friday (July 17).

finally a song with my big sister @MilaJ 💙 scorpio & pisces 💦💦💦

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) July 17, 2020

The Grammy winner announced the deluxe album earlier in the week, along with debuting the track list and gothic cover art.

7/17 #CHILOMBO (deluxe) 🌋 pic.twitter.com/4ZupGndOKL

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) July 15, 2020

The original installment of Chilombo was released in March and shot to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart. In addition to the new tracks, Aiko released the music video for her latest song, “Summer.”

Stream the deluxe edition of Chilombo below.

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories