What More Can I Sayayeee…?

DJ Danger Mouse‘s Grey Album, which pits the vocals from rapper Jay-Z’s Black Album against sampled loops from The Beatles White Album, is all the talk of the town these days, with hundreds of bloggers yesterday hosting illegal copies of the album on their websites for free download, in protest of EMI’s recent clampdown on the recording.

Frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Jay-Z’s—I’ve never been able to get over the commercialism of his music long enough to listen to his lyrics, and those that I have heard seem to encourage negative behaviors that, if anything are holding Black people back, as opposed to helping them move forward. The Grey Album has, of course, changed that for me, somewhat, as I’m simply enamored with the production, and so I’ve had the album in heavy rotation for a number of weeks now. But while The Grey Album has certainly given me a greater appreciation of Jay-Z’s lyrical ability (if not his content), I recently picked up on a lyric that, mmm, well, rubbed me the wrong way:

In the third verse of “What More Can I Say,” the second track on the album, J-Hova (as he calls himself) makes what appears to be a statement about his inability to succeed in the entertainment industry because he is not a white Jew:

Now you know your ass is Willie / When they got you in the bag / For like half a billi / And your ass ain’t lilly / White / That mean that shit you write must be illy / Either that or your flow is silly / It’s both / I don’t mean to boast / But damn if I don’t brag / Them crackers gonna act like I ain’t on they ass / The Martha Stewart / That’s far from Jewish / Far from a Harvard student / Just had the balls to do it / And no I’m not through with it / …

Of course, I find this entirely peculiar considering that Marc Schneier and Russell Simmon’s Foundation For Ethnic Understanding recently awarded Jay-Z and Barry Weiss, president of Jive records, the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award for their efforts in “promoting racial harmony through music.” I didn’t know calling white people ‘crackers’ and suggesting that not being Jewish in the entertainment industry is a disadvantage, could be construed as promoting racial harmony. If Keith Van Horn said he couldn’t get ahead in basketball because he wasn’t “a nigger”, would they have given him an award too?

Jay-Z wisely preempts any questions of this nature, however, with a line in the track “99 Problems,” where he addresses his critics saying simply, “If you don’t like my lyrics you can press fast forward.”

Just some food for thought. I’m gonna go back to bumping this album now.

See my related piece on Russell Simmon’s fraudulent relations with the Jewish people.

9 thoughts on “What More Can I Sayayeee…?

  1. Yeah, I had a friend in Israel who stopped listening to Wu-Tang after Method Man’s track “PLO Style” came out.
    Ghostface, I believe, criticizes Meth’s use of this term, however, as evidenced by the track “Winter Warz”:
    “My repotoire is USSR / PLO style got blown out the car / And run over, by the Method Man jeep / Divine can’t define my style is so deep”

  2. “Swindler’s Lust” is NOT about Jews, Michelle. It’s about scoundrels in the record industry of all races, cultures, and creeds. Listen closely to the lyrics and you’ll see that.

  3. this is not Jay-Z’s first jewish line. check this out:
    in the song: this can’t be life in ALBUM: THE DYNASTY ROC LA FAMILIA
    he says:
    See I was — born in sewage, born to make bomb music
    Flow tight like I was born Jewish

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