Jay-Z Longs for Old-School Tastefulness, Glamour as seen in Scorsese Movies

Shawn signing autographs in 1983
Shawn signing autographs in 1983

Jigga-who? According to Forbes, Jay-Z is the most ballin’ of “Hip-Hop’s Cash Kings,” with this year’s earnings at $35 milli, although that is down almost $50 million from his earnings last year. Jay-Z has made many declarations throughout his career about the life-span of stardom (not least including his attempted retirement), and now one gets the impression he feels guilty for having so much dough, prestige and fame. He’s still at the top of the game some decades after entering it, which, he has lately asserted, is not as much a testament to his lasting genius as it is to the stagnant nature of hip-hop. Hence… D.O.A.

I know you’ve heard the track. BUT, have you seen the video for it?

WOW! One of the better looking videos you’ve ever seen, right? Gritty like a Scorsese pikcha, but with a smaller budget, this video reclaims O.G. status for Jigga by literally obliterating bling, colorful/tight hiphopster clothing, Champagne bottles… and other paragons of today’s hip-hop culture. The whole explosion thing is quite similar to Fatboy Slim’s video for “Gangster Trippin’” but as of this moment, I am not certain of the connection between these two videos, other than, I mean, Jay is a gangster, clearly.

Jay is seen cavorting with Harvey Keitel, chomping a cigar, and playing poker with some Degos in the store-room of a restaurant. He drinks good red wine, thank you very much, not Champagne (although this is the man who put Cristal on the hip-hop map!). He rocks an Old School ‘do (which, weirdly, makes him look about 15 years younger than he is), plays with a live band (?!), and also b-balls with LeBron. What do all of these things ad up to? That Jigga say: Old School still wins, and, quit T-Painin’ too much.

Responses? Thoughts? No one reads this blog so I will share mine. Jay-Z: I appreciate your artistry, your good taste, your brand of hip-hop. You are one of my favorites of all time.

And though I really think T-Painin too much really sucks, it has also made some really good tracks, like “Chopped and Screwed,” and “Blame It,” as well as the album 808s and Heartbreak, etc. Hip-hop evolves, gets growing pains, and, so what, relies a little too much on voice modulation hardware. Worse things have happened. I predict this trend is already in the throws of death.

Another thing I was worried about: Kanye *produced* D.O.A. and much of the forthcoming Blueprint 3, which apparently features no auto-tuned tunes. Kanye said he didn’t take Jay’s sentiments personally, offering this incoherent analogy to MTV news:

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Kanye laughed about Jay not wanting to incorporate the sound that is featured so heavily on Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak. “It’s music; it’s just sonics. I like Auto-Tune so I do it, but you want the other thing — like you’ll wear a suit to a wedding and gym shoes to a basketball game. I think it’s a perfect moment for Jay to provide some gym shoes to a basketball game right now.”

Still, I wonder how Kanye felt when he saw his wardrobe getting blowed up real good in Jigga’s video?