I normally don’t engage in the hip hop discussions but if anybody in my circle hates on this jay z joint I will not listen to your opinion about anything anymore. While I don’t agree with everything, I appreciate him bringing the real in clear easily digestible ways. This is the grown up version of rap that I’ve been clamoring for. I’ve been waiting for a mainstream artist who has aged and matured, to show that lyrically and in their art. They have the platform to bring dialogue to the ears and hearts of our people . Let’s bring these discussions up in our art and let’s have dialogue. As my girl Lauren Hill said so eloquently “music is supposed to to inspire, so how come we ain’t getting no higher…” Albums like this and Damn by K. Dot are hopefully helping us get to new heights.

“A man that don’t take care of his family can’t be rich” – every pastor worth his weight has said some derivative of this. By Jay Z saying it,who is now a married father of 3, hopefully on wax it will resonate in ways and with ears who are wanting to digest it. If the same artist who made “Big Pimpin”, can grow and mature lyrically, why can’t others do the same? I used this album’s title track to have another father -daughter conversation about relationships. Having this song and the very public nature of Jay Z and Beyonce’s life as a backdrop, we were able to discuss what I want for my daughter and how she can avoid some of the pitfalls described in the song. This is the type of adulting that Hip Hop has been lacking.

Artist such as Common have been on this fight a long time, it was started by the forefathers of rap and continued by such greats a EPMD, Public Enemy, Arrested Development and many others who never got the acclaim that they deserved. Things were different when I was growing up. Lyrically everybody wasn’t trying to be Too $hort or Luke and 2 Live Crew. They were out there being trashy, etc, but we had a balance. Then money and big record companies started catering to the worst of us because that image is easier to sell to a suburban audience. The whole minstrel show style of hip hop took over and some of us were lining up to put on the black face.

But with an open apology to his wife, exposing family pain and dark secrets, and sampling such greats as Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Twinkie Clark amongst others on the same album puts this album amongst the all time greats. At 47 years old, we are getting more mature Jay Z who still has the lyrical skills that he is now pairing with an uplifting educational message. All you have to do now is listen.

– The Sports Preacher

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