Friday, September 9, 2011

"September 11th Marks the Era Forever of a Revolutionary Jay Guevera"

Remember that quote from Jay-Z's "The Bounce" on the Blueprint 2?  I do. And every September 11 I think about 2 things:
  1. The tragedy that took place on 9/11/2001
  2. Jay-Z's Blueprint
Call me shallow or a Jay-Z Stan (ahem, @mclaw3) for that second thought but every time I speak with someone or a group of people about the day the towers were taken down and the inevitable "I was .... when it happened" comes up, I remember that I was at my student job for the Johns Hopkins University Accounts Payable office and someone turned on a TV after the first tower had been hit. I remember thinking "What type of idiot pilot ran into the tower?" Boy was I wrong! Then, when the second tower went down, everybody freaked out and eventually, they let everyone go home. I remember my cellphone not working and trying to call my mom, grandparents, and girlfriend at the time all to no avail.

But leading up to that day, there was a buzz surrounding something that had nothing to do with national security, terrorism, or tragedy. That was, the hip-hop "beef" between Jay-Z and Nas (and Mobb Deep too). Everyone that was a hip-hop/rap fan around that time had most likely heard two songs: 1) "H to the Izzo" (because Jay debuted it at an awards show earlier, that was an epic moment now that I think about it), and 2) "The Takeover". For hip-hop this was pretty much as big as it could get. Two of raps best and most respected artists ever were about to battle, and Jay had thrown the first punch on wax. This was either a great marketing strategy, real rivalry/jealousy, a fight for the top spot, or some weird and twisted combination of all of those things and more. 

Sidebar: Let it be noted that at the time Jay took that shot Nas wasn't putting much music out and he was also (I believe, Nas Stans) dealing with his ailing mother who had cancer.Jay basically took an unwarranted shot at a man who was going through some serious life issues. It was totally unnecessary. The shot at Mobb Deep (Prodigy specifically)? Well, that was probably warranted.

Back to this post however, once they let everyone leave the office and head home and after trying to contact my loved ones, what did I do? I went straight to the old Record & Tape Traders on Charles Street in Baltimore and purchased "The Blueprint". And that leads me to the following article that poses some a couple theories as to why, like me, 419,999 other people went out and bought Jay's album that week. 

This article poses that many people purchased this album amidst the chaos of 9/11 and the days that followed because:
  • Young people not directly affected are more removed from tragedies like this.
  • "Jay-Z's teen and early 20s fans, already hyped up about this release long beforehand, remained focused on their idol".
I don't disagree with either of those theories and I probably fall into the first category more so than the second. One thing I do know is that on that day, I took my lemon of a 1992 Ford Taurus on over to the record store, copped that Jay, and it became the soundtrack of September 11 for me. It also became known and accepted by most within hip-hop as a classic album. Now, 10 years removed from that day, I probably wouldn't make the same decision. But of all the things that DID happen that day, the one thing I know for sure that did not happen that day was an era of a revolutionary Jay-Z beginning. I'm still waiting on that one.


RipRock81 said...

Honestly. I bumped this whole CD when I got up and got moving on Sunday.

I feel you on this post, as a lover of hiphop and of great music in general.

Anonymous said...

That's wassup re: bumpin this joint Sunday. I am shocked Jay didn't release a 10th anniversary collector's joint. Or better yet, I'm surprised Def Jam didn't.

RipRock81 said...

I went out and bought the cd that day too, even though I had already been bumpin and sharin the bootleg at UMBC for a week or so prior.

As for the Prodigy part, I blame Memphis Bleek for the beef igniting most times. Sure I know Jay was playing Chess and lining things up so that when it was time to go to war he had hidden missle and atomic bombs (Carmen), and Jay knew that with Big gone someone had to be the King of New York. Nas spoke on it a lil but he wasn't working as hard as Jay to be the front runner for the State. But didn't Bleek go to Jay saying Nas was calling shots when he said "you wanna ball to you fall I can help you with that...let a slug melt in your cap" based off of Bleeks song on his first album "Ball til I fall".

In my mind after that went down is when Bleek dropped that line on Mind Right. But I could be wrong, its just what I've heard and what made since looking back at the timeline.

But I know Prodigy had his hand in it, he was trying to hype it cuz he was put out there... But Nas kept telling him to chill. Probably because he had other things on his mind (as you mentioned above).

Do you rememeber the Nas Stillmatic freestyle over the Eric B & Rakim beat and the Nas freestyle on the DJ Clue joint going at Jay and the Roc?

Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious that ya'll were on the bootleg tip way before I even started, lol.

Bleek took shots at Nas when it wasn't really accepted or known that Nas was dissin him. And yep, Bleek tried to get Jay to go at him just like Prodigy tried to get Nas to go at Jay. Bleek had that song with "Ball till I fall what you think of that" on the hook so I'm sure he took that Nas line personally which I probably would have too. So from then I think Bleek was in Jay's ear sicing the whole thing and went on that Mind Right joke and just went hard.

I don't remember those freestyles though.