It takes a lot for me to latch on to a rapper. Only a few were able to dazzle me and cause me to do a double take. For instance, I remember when I was in the eighth grade. I had already fully nosedived into hip hop and was a super Stan. My mom surprised the heck out of me and purchased Jay Z’s The Gift & The Curse for Christmas. Despite my young age, I was already enraptured with Hov’s ability to pen poignant records with relative ease. I was a young kid who marveled at anybody’s ability to make the pen bleed. Now, don’t get it twisted, I didn’t fall in love with Hov because of Gift of the Curse. But, it further made me realize how dope Hov was lyrically. Tracks like “Meet the Parents”, “Blueprint 2”, “The Watcher”, imbued a sense of swag in me, because I thought I too, could become a “JAY Z.”
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The Blueprint to Success
With Hov becoming 46 today, it makes you realize the beauty of his longevity. Not only has he obliterated expectations placed upon him, he helped remold the mindset of journalists and pundits who dared to question his musical genius. At 46, he crafted a bevy of platinum albums. My personal favorite? The Blueprint. Hov’s bravado shined radiantly over the soulful beats of Kanye West and Just Blaze. He thrived incredibly by delivering a slew of classics from that album. “Heart of the City” was constantly on repeat on Saturdays when I had to clean my room. I still get chills every time I hear him utter that line, “First the Fat Boys break up…”
Diamonds Are Forever
Hov made careers. Let’s just be honest. What befuddles me the most about the hate against Hov is that people fail to give him credit for finding talent and building them up. Kanye? Dope. Another one of my favorites. But Hov helped pave his way. Rihanna? Same thing. Ne-Yo? Same thing. Roc-A-Fella? Hovito. Even when people slept on Hov, when he hanged up the jersey after The Black Album, he still proved he had grown man bars when he hopped on Kanye’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix).” I’m a business, man, not a business mannnn.