I’m on a campaign to make Jay-Z mad. Why? Because he’s bored and somebody has to do it. Case in point, that WWE style nonsense he got involved in a few weeks ago. At first I just chuckled when he jumped into a little hyped-up battle with his boy Lebron James during the Cleveland Cavaliers/Wizards match up. DeShawn Stevenson, a guard for the Wizards, called Lebron overrated and James said that responding to Stevens would be like “Jay-Z responding to Soulja Boy.” Ouch. Before it was all over ball players were boycotting nightclubs in D.C. and Soulja Boy added a few more ticks to his 15 minutes of fame.
But the crazy part was Jay-Z recording a dis record, not to an artist, but to DeShawn Stevenson! In a freestyle over Too $hort’s “Blow The Whistle” beat he eludes to Stevenson as a “pawn” while Lebron is “The King.” I could understand if the Nets were in the play-offs, but given that Vince Carter and company were watching the eastern conference race from their couches this seemed like a monumental waste of Jay-Z’s time and talent.
However, what really bothers me is Jay-Z’s silence in times of crisis. Look at the headlines from the past few weeks: Sean Bell’s murderers acquitted, Philadelphia cops on a rampage and a high-ranking Black officer of the NYPD is pulled over and harassed by his own colleagues.
Now I am well aware that Mr. Carter set-up a trust fund for Bell’s children and his widow was featured in a recent Roc-A-Wear campaign, but right now Hip-Hop needs to hear from Jay-Z the MC, not the executive/philanthropist. Read the amount of responses on message boards about the dis rap verses the trust fund and you’ll see a huge disparity in interest.
This is not to say Jay-Z doesn’t speak up at all. On Kingdom Come’s “Minority Report” he went after the President for the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina and way back on “Watch Me” he eluded to the shooting of Amadou Diallo: “Drop-that-top-down, they gon’ kill us anyway/Them cops uptown hit holmes with forty-one rounds.” But imagine what an impact he’d make if he became that voice in times of crisis, not in retrospect? You know the radio would play a new cut by Jay-Z called “50 Shots” at least one time for each bullet fired. If Deshawn Stevenson is worthy of a spontaneous trip to the booth, why do we have to wait until The Blueprint 3 to hear Superman’s thoughts on the crimes against his people? Cuz when the next Black man is gunned down in the street I’m not looking for Soulja Boy to speak up, Jay-Z. I’m looking at youuuuuuuuu.