AllHipHop.com Blog : Jay-Z - Blog Tag

  • A Tale Of Two Rookies: Jay-Z and Allen Iverson

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    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AllHipHop.com

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    With the first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft the Philadelphia 76’ers selected a controversial 5’11 Guard from Georgetown and forever changed the face of the NBA. Before Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal was the closest the NBA came to representing the true spirit of Hip-Hop. But just as a new era of Hip-Hop was emerging, a new Hip-Hop athlete would have to emerge and A.I. didn’t disappoint. The cornrows, the diminutive frame, the tattoos, the attitude, the gangsta rap demo, the entourage, the extravagant spending, the abandoning of the V.I.P. set,  the preference to party  in clubs with other black people his age regardless of the fact that he was a millionaire and we were broke. All of those things made Allen Iverson our hero. The soundtrack for this era was provided by……

    Jay-Z burst onto the scene in 1996 with Reasonable Doubt. The album was such an accomplishment that all these years later some hardcore fans argue that it’s his finest work and that even his best album since then doesn’t match the wordplay on display here. Prior to 1996 not many outside of New York had given much consideration to Jay-Z. His song “In My Lifetime” wasn’t considered a major hit but did get some play on the Friday night mixshow circuit. And super knowledgeable fans remembered him from his connection to Big Jaz (as Jaz-O was referred to on the D&D Project compilation album that dropped in 94).

    [ALSO READ: The Three Jay’s: Jay-Z Throughout The Years In His Own Words]

    Though both emerged in the year of 1996 Jay-Z has proven to be the far more successful more transcendent figure. Iverson heralded the full arrival of the Hip-Hop culture in the NBA. The old guard, the Tim Robinsons, Scottie Pippens, Michael Jordans and Karl Malones of the world were beginning their final descent. The players who weren’t particularly fond of rap and grew up in the pre-Hip-Hop world were getting ready to hang up their shoes. Allen Iverson’s crossover of MJ didn’t do anything to tarnish Jordan’s legacy but it meant a lot to us kids barely younger than Iverson. When he was booed by the crowd at the all star game for winning the MVP of the rookie game it solidified it for us. This was our guy and we had to circle the wagons. We absolutely tolerated no Iverson slander, about his game, about his image, about his off court problems, troubled past, or ratchet mother. A.I. was our guy. And the players that followed breathed a little bit easier knowing somebody had already taken the slings and arrows from those who lamented the Hip-Hopification of the NBA.  Sadly his personal demons overwhelmed his talent and ultimately led to a career that will always be debated about in terms of what could have been.

    The myth perpetuated by the media during the best of A.I.’s years was that Sixers team President Pat Croce and coach Larry Brown argued over keeping A.I. on the team after the 2000 season with Larry on the side of “no way”. And while they auditioned and traded many sidekicks for A.I.’s one man show none ever had any traction. His ultimate achievement on the basketball court may be the sheer force of will that he summoned to elevate a team consisting of him, Dikembe Mutombo and 10 role players to the NBA Finals during the 01’ playoffs to take on Shaq in his prime and Kobe during his ascendance.

    Jay-Z on the other hand while being an insider in the Hip-Hop world began getting his school of hard knocks MBA under the tutelage of some of the greatest executives in entertainment history. I’m sure Harvard Business School doesn’t offer a better education than watching Dame Dash and Kevin Liles scream at each other in a Def Jam Boardroom in 1998. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on a wall during those years. Is there any wonder Jay-Z is a business, man and not just a businessman.  Thus Jay-Z is fully prepared and well positioned for a life “after rap” the opposite of the way that A.I. isn’t fully prepared for a life after basketball.

    Some have argued that Jay-Z’s artistic achievements post ’06 (the year of his comeback from his first retirement) have been inconsistent. And a few will assert that his tenure as President of Def Jam was negligible at best. And the way Roc-A-Fella Records ended never sat well with fans. Similarly Allen Iverson’s production on actual basketball court post ’06 was never that great. And the way he left his original team definitely doesn’t sit well with fans.

    Jay-Z hasn’t really truly failed his fans though. I mean never. There have been low moments in a career of mostly highs. There was the disappointment of Blueprint 3. But the most hardcore Jay-Z stans (myself included) could argue that Blueprint 3 has some great moments. Some of us weren’t happy with the luxury brand rap of “Watch The Throne”. Some of us were less than thrilled when we bought a ticket to see him and Kanye perform “N—– in Paris” eleven times back to back to back.

    [ALSO READ: President Obama Gets Funny With Jay-Z and DJ Khaled At Correspondence Dinner]

    But Jay-Z has accomplished so much. He basically destroyed the Roc-A-Fella brand and created the upstart label/management conglomerate  Roc Nation. He helped bring the Nets to Brooklyn. He dissed the Yankees so well in that New York song that they didn’t even take it as a diss and invited him to perform it… at YANKEE STADIUM.  And when it was time to take his brand to the next level he displayed zero fux about dropping his ownership stake and turning Roc Nation Sports into the Roc Nation of sports. (See how deceptively simple that is).

    Allen Iverson has had a rough time of it. His alcoholism, his gambling, his ugly home life, his horrendous divorce, his money issues, his failed stints in Memphis, Philly, and….Turkey!!!. All of those things have us looking at our childhood hero s’ing our mfh’s . Washington Post articles and other recent profiles show us a tattered soul. It makes us sad to know that sometimes even money can’t save us from the ghettos in our mind. While Jay-Z continues to surprise us by innovating and reinventing himself, Iverson meekly  accepts that he may never play basketball again and continues to dress like he did 10 years ago when super baggy jeans and throwback jerseys were the height of urban couture.

    So while we are forced to look back to the early 2000’s and late 90’s to relieve the A.I.’s greatness, we can almost certainly look forward to great things from Jay-Z and his movie scoring, athlete contract negotiating, Hip-Hop, rock and pop management company/record label. All that and he still had time to thug out Beyonce. Meanwhile until Time puts out a list of the world’s 100 most tragic figures we won’t see A.I. on any magazine covers anytime soon.

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    E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog boxingwithgod.com. Read more of his AHH Blogs HERE.

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  • The Illuminati’s Recruiting? Sign Me Up!

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    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AllHipHop.com

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    I’m for the abolishment of all religions! In a utopian world we’d all just say we are “the children of God” and leave it at that. There would be no Jew, Christian or Muslim. I’d be fine with no president and no borders—a kind of heaven-on-earth. These are the things that the Illuminati supposedly want. If I told you I was already a member of the Illuminati I’d have to kill you, so, for the sake of this blog, I’m not a member and I’m only writing to be flippant educate. Let’s get it!

    I’ve been looking for the Illuminati headquarters for a long time!

    In my travels I’ve been part of several organizations, which could’ve pointed me in the Illuminati direction. I’ve “crossed the burning sands” of fraternal brotherhood. I’ve met those of “this way” and stood shoulder to shoulder in knowledge with those that stand “Perpendicular to the Square.” I even wrote the European Economic Community (EEC) and my mail came back. I went to the United Nations and asked for an Illuminati application and they looked at me crazy. I broke into a meeting of The Bilderberg Group and they threw me out on my ass! I called The Trilateral Commission and asked to join the Illuminati and they gave me the “side-eye” over the phone! And then I took a job as a janitor at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and never eavesdropped on a conversation of substance. I even disguised my identity and feigned like I was a Rothschild, a Warburg, a Getty and a Rockefeller! No such luck. And then it hit me—the Illuminati were recruiting right in my face! At the goddamned Burger King on 79th Street! I wanna make it rain/reign with hamburgers and hexagrams! One man’s reign is another man’s rain.

    I might be the only pro-Illuminati protagonist in hip-hop.

    But really—I am a member of the wanna join the Illuminati—not because I’ve got a “God Complex” like the white man, but because I’ve got a bone to pick with organized religion, who, as far as I can tell, has been the worst criminal in the annals of human history—and they’re telling me that the Illuminati hates religion—sign me the f#*k up!

    You Hip-Hop heads kill me! How dare you believe that rappers wanna be a part of the Illuminati, so much so, that they’d “sacrifice” their mother to be part of a secretive organization! In my best Mike Tyson voice, “This is totally ludacrisp!” How many of you would let your moms be killed so that you could become rich and famous? That’s what I thought—none of you, but you’re bound and determined to believe that there are people willing to stoop to such levels of decadence to be on that esoteric (hidden) knowledge tip.

    Is there Freemasonry, Satanic and Illuminati imagery in music? Abso-freaking-lutely! So what? There is also misogynistic, homophobic, racist, nationalistic, Christian, vulgar, hateful, and murderous imagery in the music industry—one big pot of Louisiana gumbo. Have as much or little as you like!

    Like really, what did the Illuminati ever do to you? Did they rape you? Enslave you? Annihilate your race? Persecute your spiritual beliefs? Steal money from you in the name of God? Oh! That’s right! They worship a fabled and mythological “devil” to hear you tell it. Look! All they wanna do is rule the world! I don’t get all the ado. Everything you say about the Illuminati is some hypothetical, theoretical, postulative, speculative and demagogic gum-flapping! You can’t put your finger on one concrete act of Illuminati complicity—not 9/11, not the music industry and certainly not world affairs. It is all hyperbole. It is all oratorical masturbation!

    Can you say that about religion—your religion—whether it be Judaism and its claim to have massacred thousands upon thousands in the Bible? Or Christianity, which made women second-class citizens, demonized homosexuals, and sanctioned that “Peculiar Institution” (American slavery) and the annihilation of the Indigenous Population in the Western Hemisphere—so-called Indians? Or Islam, which wreaked havoc on Africa with its blood-lust for conquest all the way down to 9/11 and under-educates women and empowers tyrants? Even if everything you say about the Illuminati is true (which it ain’t!) it pales in comparison to the s#*t your religion has done! How dare you even fix your mouth and point the finger at the devil-worshiping Illuminati, meanwhile the s#*t you hold sacred (Christianity) has cum-stained lips from sucking the devil’s phallus! It never crosses your mind that not only is the devil-Illuminists working behind the scene, but actively running your religion!

    I know what you’re thinking. It’s not the religion, it’s the bad people within religions! Meanwhile, your religion sings, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war!” Your religion teaches you that Jihad is prescribed to bring the last message to the world and those virgins in paradise are patiently awaiting your schlong. God is not a Jew, Christian or Muslim, yet we will kill a mofo over said religion in the name of God!

    I just don’t f#*king get it! What “could be” weighs heavier than “what really is.” If Satan is really controlling anything in this world, it is religion, not secret organizations.

    What do you really have against the Illuminati? Its mythological tie to Satanism? Is that it? Nowhere in the original Illuminati writings are there any talk of devil worship or Satanism. Those claims originated from the Catholic Church’s pogrom* against secret societies, even though they had their own Jesuit order doing secret s#*t. (*POGROM – an organized massacre of helpless people. Put it in your vocab.)

    [ALSO READ: Rapper Allegedly Tried To Sacrifice Friend To Join The Illuminati]

    Most of you have not a clue what the original Illuminati believed in, so let me give you a crash course on Illuminati history. The Illuminati was founded by Adam Weishaupt (1748-1811), a Jew who was raised Catholic who converted to Protestantism. By profession he was a professor of Natural and Canon Law at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria. He joined the Freemasons in 1774, but was unimpressed with its commitment to esoteric inquiry.

    Weishaupt became a “freethinker” who wanted to “perfect” the world and the individual. Weishaupt believed that the world could be perfected if nations and religions were abolished. He was against people owning private property and marriage and he especially hated kings, presidents and monarchs. So, in 1776 he founded this “secret” group called “The Order of Perfectibilists” a.k.a. the Illuminati.

    The Illuminati only lasted a mere ten years. The Catholic Church and many governments dropped the hammer on these secret organizations and away they went. But today, the Illuminati looms larger than life in the minds of many people, especially in Hip-Hop circles. We are steeped in mythology and misinformation regarding this group. YouTube is full of videos about the Illuminati and its aim at taking over the music industry and the world. We are spooked beyond all rationality! We say that the Illuminati has some of our favorite rap stars and singers under their spell—Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Eminem, Tupac, etc.—that the Illuminati is into devil worship—that they want your soul and require blood sacrifice, murder and homosexual acts as part of their initiation rite. Not an iota of physical, tangible proof, yet we are willing to argue until the sun comes up that the world is under their spell and that one day the Illuminati will run the world.

    Newsflash! Every member of the Illuminati are living, breathing (white) men that will die a death just like you and I.

    There are numerous problems with this whole Illuminati thingy. First and above all—how arrogant and absurd it is to think that a white organization, which is steeped in “old money” and supposedly old power would want to recruit some rappers that happen to have a few pennies in the bank—some “nouveau riche” (newly rich) niggas that just got some money two days ago!

    [ALSO READ:Lil Wayne is a Better Rapper Than Tupac But He’s Not The ‘New Pac’]

    Secondly, if the motives of the Illuminati are already known, why are we so afraid that they will succeed, especially in light of the fact that most people are horrified by their beliefs? And thirdly, the Illuminati have been around for over 200 years and still haven’t managed to bring their aims to fruition. The best they can do is f#*k with some rap stars and put subliminal messages in records and videos? Is that it?

    Do I believe that the Illuminati is real? Yes! Right about now you’re prolly confused as hell about what I think (as it should be!) In another blog I’ll take you inside what many are calling the Illuminati headquarters, Denver International Airport where the imagery gets no realer! But until then…

    If we can believe what the Bible tells us in the Book of Revelations, the New World Order is coming. All these things must come to fruition to fulfill scripture, so why are we so crazy over this? A Christian should be rooting for the Illuminati—yea, carrying the banner of the Illuminati. Why? It’s supposed to usher in the Second Coming of Christ right? Without Judas there was no dying and rising Jesus. Without the Illuminati/New World Order there is no Second Dispensation. Relax. Man-up and accept what your book is teaching you and let the Rain Man do his thingy. For verily (truly) I say unto you, “A change is coming!” If the Illuminati is recruiting, sign me up!

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    rocsignKhalil Amani writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” (iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12

  • Is Beyoncé Bad For Women?

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    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AllHipHop.com

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    B. Carter released a new track this week that set the twitterverse a tizzy. The song “Bow Down” was somewhat of a departure from the noble female empowerment image that has been a staple of her career in recent years. Her frequent and liberal use of the word “bitch” offended some. Also many felt the aggressive nature of the track and the message of basically “All Hail Queen Beyoncé”. Now everyone from Keyshia Cole (who admittedly has her own ax to grind with B) to Rush Limbaugh has an opinion.

    But can we validate the premise of the argument of her detractors for a second? Beyoncé has become a pop phenomenon. And she has many many hits throughout her storied career dating back to Destiny Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills” ( a song by four teenage girls mocking a man for trying to date them without being able to support them financially), to “Crazy in Love” to “Irreplaceable”. There’s probably too many to name. The argument that “Bow Down” is a deviation from her pro woman agenda is “technically” valid. If you want to assert that the content of her songs was the driving force of her image.

    “Bow Down” is offensive to some because it implies that she is somehow above other women. It’s not a particularly positive message from that perspective. And of course if I saw things from that perspective I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing this because you have all heard that argument since Monday. The honest truth is this: Beyoncé is as much of an icon as her husband. Jay-Z’s lyrical content full of unrepentant criminal violence, unchecked egotism, blatant materialism, misogyny and debauchery do absolutely nothing to damage his status as an icon. So why should Beyoncé stating her true beliefs that she is above and beyond others in her field damage her image at all?

    [ALSO READ: WOW! Rush Limbaugh Puts Beyoncé Down Over “Bow Down"]

    When you are an icon the content of your work matters less and less. Want proof? How many of you have actually watched an Elizabeth Taylor movie or listened to a Cher album? But they’re icons right. When was the last time you sat down to watch an episode of The Simpsons? (Sometime in the late 90’s right) Still the show is iconic. Beyoncé is such a great singer, dancer and entertainer that we instantly forgive her failures. No one talks about her god awful acting in that Austin Powers movie. Clips of her or any of her Destiny’s Child’s sisters tripping and falling on stage are viewed once or twice (or sometimes for hours in a continuous loop), laughed at and instantly dismissed. Being an Icon doesn’t mean being infallible. It does mean being loved and accepted by an extremely passionate fan base “Flaws and All” (see what I did there).

    Honestly, I don’t find anything particularly feminist about the content of her music in the first place. It’s mostly standard chick R&B stuff, relationship crap and some dance music thrown in for good measure. Her iconic status has always been about her ability to do what she does well. Not just well…. extremely well. The only people who have a legitimate gripe in this “Bow Down” situation are people like me who don’t like the quality of the song. If you think the execution of the track is weak, technical stuff like the beat, the lyrics, the tone etc etc. that’s different than saying “She shouldn’t say things like that”. Most R&B singers, indeed most women aren’t feminists. And in that regard Beyoncé is no different. Her telling “bitches” to bow down isn’t as hypocritical to me as the false humility her image consultants tried to sell us. So just to be clear on this icon yes, feminist no.

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    E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog boxingwithgod.com. Read more of his AHH Blogs HERE

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