Jay-Z had a concert scheduled and set to take place Monday on July 8th. Well, that whole thing has now been put on pause. The concert was cancelled by the New York City mayor's office apparently due to "fireworks and terrorism" according to the New York Post.
The concert was scheduled to take place at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York and they also had an airing set to follow later that day on the "Late Show With Dave Letterman." Right now, the concert hasn't been rescheduled but I am sure that Jay-Z will figure out a way to make it happen. After all, he got the R.I.A.A. to fold.
Jay-Z's new album Magna Carta Holy Grail will drop via Samsung tomorrow, leak over the weekend, and be available to the world for purchase July 7th.
In less than 24 hours before the release of Magna Carta Holy, Jay-Z debut the album cover at a London cathedral. The cover will be on available for viewing at the Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House for the entire month of July and are accompanied by quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, Queen Elizabeth II and others.
After an announcement was made via commercials and online media that Jay-Z and Samsung partnered up to give away 1 million digital download of the album, 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' the deal was hailed...
I had a small inclination this was going to happen and thanks to the R.I.A.A, it has come true. After Soundscan dissed Jay-Z by informing him that the 1 million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail sold to Samsung would NOT count towards sales of his album, they have pulled a John Kerry and flip-flopped on their decision. Starting today, according to an announcement by the R.I.A.A., those sales WILL count towards Jay-Z's sales.
We think it's time for the RIAA - and Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman - to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That's why today we are officially updating this rule in our G&P Program requirements. Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date.
Ok so it breaks down like this, initially, Soundscan's ruling was that in order for an album to count towards sales, they had to be sold by an entity to a retailer who turns around and sales that above or below cost. In doing so, Billboard counts those albums and the album will chart on Billboard. This was how things were done in the old West. Well two days before this album drops, Jay-Z pulled some illuminati shit and now the R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America) has re-written the rule book and the Magna Carta Holy Grail's purchase by Samsung will become official for Jay-Z pushing him platinum out the gate.
The new rule change by the R.I.A.A. only accounts for digital sales and seems like a "common rule update" as the R.I.A.A. worded it. I prefer to call it the Jay-Z Rule. Look, here's the thing. Jay-Z has a lot of fans and Samsung has a lot of users. So it stands to reason that there would more than likely be 1 million users of Samsung's Magna Carta Holy Grail digital app. However, I think we need to look into taking it one step forward by having Samsung confirm the number installs of this app on real Samsung devices. How many devices are actually installing this app on their phones. That sounds like a valid metric to me? Think about it this way, companies can now buy albums through a structured deal on paper. Without true validation of the said device, app, or whatever measured, how do we know that those numbers are true numbers and not some rue. Back to the wild, wild west reference before, that could happen now because any artist or company looking to align themselves up with a high-powered brand name, can inflate numbers through these deals leading to a manipulation of the public. Through corporate deals, it becomes far more easier to move the needle than before. And while Jay-Z wins in the end, we need to apply a bit more thought to this. I think it's highly risky of the R.I.A.A. to start such a drastic change at the 11th hour without taking into consideration all the potential outcomes. Of course, they may have but I find it unlikely since this all took place within a week.
In any event, come July 4th, Jay-Z will become platinum. For the 12th time. He just did it in a round about way winning against a system in which so many artists are failing. Don't sale to consumers, just sale albums to corporation. They'll buy.
I've admired the crew here at Dead End Hip Hop since they first started, so naturally when they brought me on board this month, I thought "Hey, what better way to introduce myself than to alienate everyone?"
5. Life After Death is better than Ready to Die: No conversation in real life or on any message board (which are, depressingly, kind of the same thing at this point) about a double album can go more than five minutes without someone suggesting that the album in question might fare better as a single disc. As an argument it's old and tiresome, but it's also almost universally true. One of the greatest things about rap as a medium is that the word count is so much higher than other forms of music, and it's easier to explore ideas in full, but that's also an awful lot of writing when you're trying to fill 25 tracks. The truth is that would-be classics like All Eyez On Me and Wu Tang Forever (and would-be okay albums like Blueprint 2) are bloated and watered down to the point where they're actually less than the sum of their parts, even when those 'parts' might include ten or twelve great songs. (Exceptions to this might be projects like Diplomatic Immunity or Drought 3...tapes that are meant to be scattershot collections of often great songs and therefore don't depend on cohesion and consistency like a normal studio release.) Life After Death might stand alone as the double album in rap that justifies its length. Sure, the Lil Kim joint on disc 2 could go, and sure, "Nasty Boy" probably doesn't get many spins in 2013, the album's littered with classics, and actually plays shorter than its 109-minute running time. As anyone knows, Big's strength was his storytelling, and he came into his own here with songs like "Somebody's Gotta Die", where he blends the lines between fiction and reality so cleverly that you think he really might be accidentally killing innocent kids (missing the person he wanted, doing ten year bids, etc).
I'd argue that "N****s Bleed" is the best thing he had the chance to do during his life and "Kick In The Door" is one of the finest posturing moments in the contentious mid 90s in New York. His eye for detail gets magnified when, on "I Got A Story To Tell", he finishes the song by telling the same story he just rapped, but giving the spark notes version and mis-remembering the Knicks roster. The two songs I mentioned earlier are probably missteps, but everything else is exceptional up to and including the hilarious "Playa Hater". Ready to Die is undoubtedly a classic that deserves every accolade that's been thrown its way, but it's poorly sequenced. "Machine Gun Funk" and "Gimme The Loot" would sound much better later in the album. They're great songs that unfairly read as redundant after the superior "Things Done Changed" and kill the album's momentum before it even gets going. Now consider that the second disc of Life After Death (the one people tend to write off as the weaker of the two) has gems like "Ten Crack Commandments", "Going Back To Cali", "You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You", and "Notorious Thugs". The music speaks for itself.
4. Slug is in my top five: Yes, of all time. Any rapper with albums as good as Lucy Ford and the bizarrely overlooked When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold should get consideration in any all-time discussions, but the argument takes on an entirely new dimension when you consider how different the great Atmosphere albums are. And when I say 'the great Atmosphere albums', that's not limited to the two previously mentioned. God Loves Ugly, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, and the bootleg Sad Clown Bad Dub II are top-tier releases as well. In short, this is a guy who's made classic albums in entirely different styles. Now, that's not unheard of in rap history, but I can't name many artists who have songs as divergent as "Body Pillow" and "Guarantees" that are equally great. From the introspective, cryptic stuff of earlier in his career to the naturalist, detail-oriented storytelling of the latter half, Slug's been one of the most consistently great writers the genre's ever seen. But as far as I can tell, there are a few things working against his reputation in rap circles. First, he's unfairly maligned as a navel-gazing-hipster-emo rapper...which is kind of understandable. Superficially, some of the earlier Atmosphere records might seem this way, but a single thorough listen should reveal this isn't the case. The vast majority of albums like Lucy Ford, God Loves Ugly, or Seven's Travels are tongue-in-cheek and not the least bit self-serious. Of course, this spawned an entire cottage industry of 'Slug-influenced' rappers who either miss the point entirely or don't have the ability to pull off the aesthetic. There are hundreds of faux-Atmosphere rappers on your twitter feed right now who are absolutely unbearable and, unfortunate as that is, they're in no way representative of Slug's level of skill or even his artistic direction. Second, Atmosphere's often lumped in with turn-of-the-century faux-backpack emo neo-awful rappers who make music that purports to be technically amazing but is entirely unlistenable and devoid of fun. Again, the connection doesn't seem like a huge leap, but it couldn't be more wrong: As far back as 2003, Atmosphere was making polished, complete songs like "Trying To Find A Balance" and "Lift Her, Pull Her". The amount of music he put out was staggering for most of the 2000s, and it was almost all fantastic. Basically, this guy's good, listen to him.
3. Lyrically speaking, Jay-Z absolutely defeated Nas: I love Nas. Illmatic is the greatest album of all time. And if we're considering who got the most out of the famous feud, Nas's career was helped immeasurably...resuscitated, actually...while Jay is universally considered the loser and 'ether' and 'renegade' have somehow become verbs. This is all a very neat and tidy narrative...and completely wrong. We could probably start by comparing and contrasting "Ether" with "Takeover". I kind of can't believe this is even up for debate. It should be so obvious. Anyway, "Ether", almost universally hailed as the greatest diss song of all time...is kind of just a bunch of gay jokes. Nas, one of the best writers of all time, calls Jay "Gay-Z" (of "Cock-a-fella Records", when it's well known Nas "rocks hoes"), claiming Eminem "murdered [Jay] on [his] own shit" (he didn't) and that the real Rockefeller died of AIDS (he didn't). On the other hand, Takeover's verse about Nas; ridicules his career (which was considered to be in shambles at a time, even though critics and fans have rightly reversed course on It Was Written since then), laughs at the Queens native for not getting paid for either time Jay sampled lyrics from Illmatic, reminds the public of the debacle that was "Oochie Walley", and delivers the damning "N****, you ain't live it, you witnessed it from your folks' pad/Scribbled in ya notepad and created your life/I showed you your first teck, on tour with Large Professor/Then I heard your album 'bout 'your teck on the dresser'". Finally, it teases what would become "Super Ugly"...the fact that Jay was sleeping with the mother of Nas's child, leaving condoms on the baby seat and all. Then there's the second verse on "Blueprint 2", where he ridicules all the ways in which Nas contradicted his most cloyingly moralistic songs. Nas landed some good shots as well ("Last Real N**** Alive" is particularly underrated), but this was really no contest.
2. Lil B is one of the most influential artists in the world right now: Lil B makes fantastically interesting music. He's shown time and time that he can rap, uh, 'well' in a conventional sense, confirming that his style is a creative choice...but that's not the point. People cite that fact all the time when defending B and it drives me up the wall; someone's ability to sound like an imitation of Nas, One Be Lo or Elzhi is such a short-sighted measuring stick when we're talking about how good their music is. Would "Straps on Deck" really be better if it was rapped in 4/4 about how many styles he has and how other emcees are wack? Should completely out-of-left-field artists have to tone it down and rap on 9th Wonder beats to be taken seriously (or at least seriously appreciated)? The answer to both of those questions should be a resounding 'no', but this is a rap discussion on the internet, so that's obviously not the case. In any event, the point to be made here isn't that Lil B is one of the most interesting artists making music right now (he is, but that's for a longer post), it's that he's one of the most influential, and will continue to be for, at least, a few years. Rap in 2013 is incredibly and increasingly fragmented, so I recognize that this is reductionist and I could be overlooking people in smaller bubbles around the world (read: YouTube), but B started the rapping-over-ambient-beats thing in the current mainstream. (He's hardly a part of that mainstream, but his mark is everywhere you look.) The album credits for Live.Love.Asap and the followup basically read as a we-love-Based-God tribute page. Huge mainstream rappers (Rick Ross et al, for starters) are swiping his ad libs. The stream of consciousness non sequitur is making a strong case for itself, as it should. Rappers like Rocky, Robb Bank$, and others who have popped up since B gained traction are following his lead in embedding bizarrely violent threats in otherwise non-violent songs. Influence doesn't always manifest as imitation, either; process of elimination is a very real thing. It's undeniable that B will cause some kids (and some old men) to jump on a new hyper-formalist bandwagon. Actually, he already has. Groups like Pro Era are, even by their own admission, partially a response to the always-dreaded 'current state of hip hop'. This is best exemplified by Joey Bada$$'s humorless butchering of his playful 'beef' with B.
1. Lil Wayne, in his prime, was better than Eminem in his: At his best, Eminem might be the greatest of all time at making words rhyme. He was a battle rapper who could get pretty effectively introspective when the stars lined up ("If I Had", "Rock Bottom", "Stan") who later (albeit briefly) developed into a a compellingly personal, angry, and honest rapper (The Eminem Show). But here's where I start to break the internet. Em's first two albums haven't aged very well. The Marshall Mathers LP in particular relies heavily on mutli-syllable rhyming, shock value, and easy pop-culture commentary in the form of celebrity baiting. The first two elements don't hold up very well on repeat listens, and the third doesn't really play at all today. Now, I'm opposed to the so-called "hip hop purist" mentality that we have to somehow determine if music is 'timeless' before we praise it, but some of the lines, verses, and entire songs, at times that Em was putting out at the beginning of his career, are extremely hard to listen to now. And while he was perfectly late-90s in his appeal, teenagers simply aren't as angry anymore, and songs like "The Way I Am" come off far too woe-is-me and, frankly, embarrassing to be enjoyable...at least for me. In the interest of being fair (and protecting my family's safety), I want to reiterate that Em was a technical genius from 99 through 03, and made some exceptionally good music. His catalog just doesn't stack up well against those belonging to the artists that fans want to compare him to.
In contrast, let's look at Wayne, one of the most oddly divisive rappers of the last generation. While he was the consensus "best rapper alive" in many circles during his 05-08 heyday, in others (quick, go to a Roots video on YouTube), he was and is the bastion of everything wrong with music. (I can only assume those commenters are banging the Pro Era tape in their dorm rooms right now, but again, that's for another day.) Wayne started his incredible run with 2005′s Tha Carter 2, one of the better coke-rap albums of this century, but really rose to his current stature with the mixtape run between C2 and C3, a run that included Dedication 2, Da Drought 3, the impeccable Carter 3 session songs, and innumerable guest features and one-off songs. Wayne's greatness is actually pretty easy to explain when you get right down to it: Rappers deal primarily in charisma. Sure, for some rappers, rhyming well in a classical sense is what makes them appealing. For others, their imagery, their humor, their rhyming ability, or something else might be what makes them an arresting figure that commands your attention. For four years, Wayne was the most charismatic person on the planet, and maintained that attention-grabbing quality by constantly taking left turns and executing all his weird creative choices with an ear for quality that's overwhelming both for the sheer quality of most of his music during the period and the volume of music he released. When everyone was biting the hook of "Duffle Bag Boyz", he made "I Feel Like Dying." When everyone finally jumped on the autotune train, he made "La La La." When people caught the appeal of "See I am God's son, but you know I ain't Nas/'Cause, see, he got a positive aim, and I aim nines", he turned around and made "Tie My Hands." When it comes right down to it, Wayne developed what was actually a pretty unique and subversive style and made it ubiquitous to the point it was unavoidable. Just like Eminem, Wayne has created legions of imitators who are capable only of making pale, awful renditions of his best work, but that shouldn't cloud the fact that these guys were great rappers in their day...Wayne was just a bit better.
I'll be fielding death threats on Twitter.
The opinions and views expressed here are the opinions of the designated author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of any of the individual members of Dead End Hip Hop.
As more and more lyrics continue to drop, today we get the album artwork and official tracklist to Jay-Z's upcoming album dropping on July 4th followed by the official release on July 9th. Looking at the tracklist below, we're looking at four songs with features out of 14 which means Jay-Z will end up handling most of the heavy lifting. There are 8 features total (Rick Ross, Frank Ocean, Nas, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz & Timbaland) with six appearing all on one track and Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé appearing twice. Magna Carta Holy Grail will become the first Jay-Z project we have reviewed as Dead End Hip Hop and it may be one of contention as we all have varying opinions on Hov. It may not end up as intense as Kanye West's Yeezus review but Feefo and Modest Media are big fans of Jay-Z so this one can become unglued real quick. Look for it on our YouTube channel either Sunday or next Monday.
In attempts to not appear completely oblivious to the various political, legal and social issues that have consumed our news outlets this week, let me take a moment to acknowledge Paula Deen's "scandal," George Zimmerman's trial, Aaron Hernandez's charge, DOMA and Nelson Mandela. All of these topics are far too intricate to discuss now, so you will have to tune in Saturday to Sincere's Weekend Vault to fully grasp the elevation of my discourse as I take my weekly position on my soap box.
Instead, I will momentarily direct our attention on the most mundane and trivial of matters: The 2013 BET Awards.
Hosted by Chris Tucker, and promoted with the tagline "Anything Can Happen," this year's BET Awards promises to be historical, but then again, how is that different from the past? Sworn to secrecy, I can't divulge what is going to "happen" - well, that is also because I don't know - but I can tell you what I don't want to happen.
Top 5 Things I Don't Want To Happen at the 2013 BET Awards
5. French Montana. No, nothing in particular. I just don't want French Montana to "happen" at the 2013 BET Awards.
4. I don't want Nicki Minaj or anyone else to act shocked when she wins the Best Female Hip Hop Award as if there was any competition.
3. Rick Ross to perform without a shirt on... who am I kidding, I look forward to this every year.
2. As much as I love Jay, I don't want to see him at the 2013 BET Awards. Hip Hop's royalty only seem to grace us with their presence when they are posturing themselves to ask us to part with our financial earnings. Yes, I know Magna Carter Holy Grail is scheduled to debut next week but BET should take a stand and say, "you didn't attend the award shows all those years when we nominated you so, no, we are not going to allow you to dominate our awards show to boost your already-platinum unreleased album, and while we are on the topic, when was the last time you showed up to the BET Hip Hop Awards?"
1. Paula Deen to come on the stage at the end of the night with Jesse Jackson to formally apologize to Black America and then culminate her monologue with a serenade of the Negro National Anthem.
Tune in Saturday at noon EST to The Weekend Vault for more or tweet me at @SincereSaysSo if you can't wait until then.
Hip-hop mogul P. Diddy is expanding into cable television
Jay-Z's 12th album - details and the
brilliant marketing move that robbed him of his platinum status
Back in February 2012 Sean Combs announced that he would be launching a new cable network, but for some reason we all forgot. Well he is back to remind us and in a big way. Diddy's new "RevoltTV" was recently picked up by Time Warner Cable and the launch is set to be one of the largest in network history. Revolt TV will focus mainly on music programming and will incorporate elements of social media. The network is set to launch this fall.
Photo: Revolt TV
On June 16 during the NBA finals, the world heard the announcement that emcee and mogul Jay-Z would be releasing his 12th album entitled "Magna Carta Holy Grail." The video featured world class producers Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Swizz Beats and Pharell of the Neptunes and if you guessed from the Samsung Galaxy backplate that there was some kind of ultra marketing involved, you were right. The Roc-A-Fella chief signed a 20 million dollar deal with the electronics giant to make his new album available for free on July 4th to the first 1 million Samsung users who download the free app on June 24th. Though a brilliant marketing ploy, the move will not be recognized by Billboard as sales because, well, nothing was actually sold which means no immediate platinum status for the rapper, but we are sure that it will come. Get the full story in this month's Billboard magazine that features Jay-Z on the cover.
Actor and rapper Ice-T shocked the world last year with the release of his first documentary "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" which gained critical acclaim. Now he's back at it with his second offering that promises to be far more controversial than his first. The film is called Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp and takes a peak inside the life and times of reformed street pimp turned author Iceberg Slim whose novels Pimp: The Story Of My Life, Trick Baby and Mama Black Widow became the foundation of the street literature genre. The film features commentary from Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Chris Rock and Ice-T. The movie will have its on demand release on July 12th and wide release on July 19th.
Jay-Z has this thing called #newrules which I guess I need to look more into but I have been really busy. Well, today, Jay-Z revealed Justin Timberlake's involvement with the album and I am sure that is not surprising anyone considering the fact that Jay-Z was on Justin's song "Suit & Tie" from Justin's album. Check out the lyrics below to "Holy Grail" which was released via the #MCHG app launched on Google Play earlier today. "Holy Grail" will be on iTunes tomorrow with the album dropping July 4th.
As promised, with a little more than nine days until Jay-Z's new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2 users can download the app that will let you get a taste of the album a full 72 hours before the official release date on July 7th.
In the Google Play Store, the first 1 million downloaders will be able to listen to album when it is unlocked at 12:01 EST on July 4th, those sales however, will not count towards Hov's Nielsen SoundScan figures. This shouldn't be a problem, as the ROC Nation CEO has gone number one on the billboard charts a whopping 12 times second only to The Beatles.
Down the app here, and check out the tracklist for the album below.
Jay-Z's upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, tracklist has been revealed. In the video above, Pharrell briefly speaks on the album calling it "special". Magna Carta Holy Grail will have 13 tracks with two bonus tracks bringing the total to 15. Jay-Z and Roc Nation held a scavenger hunt in New York City for the tracklist and the winners received a limited-edition book which included the tracklist. No features were listed but I'm sure as we near the July 4th release date, more will be revealed about the album.