1) ‘The Story of OJ’
“Y’all out here still takin’ advances, huh?
Me and my niggas takin’ real chances, uh
Y’all on the ‘Gram holdin’ money to your ear
There’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here, yeah”
“Plays on the words “disconnect” and “call” since these artists hold their advance money to their ears on Instagram (“the ‘Gram”) like phones.”
“Advances are, in essence, borrowed from the record company. Jay is saying that borrowed money, which has to be paid back through future earnings, isn’t real money.”
I think contrary to how most rappers feel (shown by them immediately responding to this line by taking a ‘money phone’ picture) I think this is a very powerful play on words. I think the youth of today are quick to deem projects that require you to think more like this, boring and bland. However, I feel throughout this project Jay Z is giving us, the younger generation, life lessons; especially on this track. As an older, extremely successful black man, one who has worked his way up to where he is today, I feel he’s advising us on how to act and handle our money, rather than how society wants us to act or expects us to act as black people. In this particular line Jay Z is referring to the unnecessary act of Instagram flexing that rappers love to do, focusing mainly on the ‘money phone’. I think this line is more of a message to rappers to think long term with their money instead of short term with all the flexing and showboating they do with it. Why show off money that we soon have to pay back when we can make our own money, invest it and have it continue to grow, through avenues like real estate? It’s more of a “start putting your money to good use” or “start making better decisions with your money” kind of thing.
2) ‘Family Feud’
“What’s better than one billionaire? Two (two)
‘Specially if they’re from the same hue as you”
“Recalling the aforementioned race to become hip hop’s first billionaire he’s focusing more on the aspect of two black billionaires; him alongside fellow businessman Diddy.”
“Moreover, regardless of who the actual billionaires are, Jay wants everyone within the culture, or black people in general, to succeed in their lives.”
I love this line because people love to put Jay Z, Diddy and even Dr Dre in some kind of competition to be the first black billionaire in Hip Hop, whereas I’ve always thought why must they compete with one another. I feel as black people in general we often feel like we’re competing against each other in everything which i’ve never understood, where in actual fact as a community we could do so much better if we were to just work together. When we pit ourselves against each other like this there’s no way we can grown. Instead of Jay Z saying that he should be a billionaire instead of Diddy, he’s saying doesn’t it make sense or isn’t it better if we both become billionaires.
“We stuck in La La Land
Even when we win, we gon’ lose”
“Being in “la la land” is being in a mental state that is euphoric and dreamlike, detached from the harsher realities of life. Hov is saying that some in the black community don’t wish to confront the burdens of being black in America.”
“When the black community experiences a groundbreaking win, they still experience losses of overshadowing and continued hardships. He compares this to the Oscar mishap that occurred earlier in 2017. Because of envelope issues, the movie “La La Land” was first presented as the Best Picture Winner, before it was corrected and the prize was given to the producers of “Moonlight.” This caused huge media attraction, and also forever associated the two movies together. However, “Moonlight” is a very small film compared to the hugely successful “La La Land” and the movie itself got largely overshadowed by the incident.”
The basis and the whole general theme of this track is great in my opinion. I’m a movie buff, so i went to see both moonlight and La La Land and I too angrily watched the Oscars fiasco in shock and anger, like Jay Z also did if i’m listening to this track correctly. I love this line because it’s so brutally honest, that incident at the Oscars showed us that even when we win, they still want to remind us that they still hold the power. Hence why that incident overshadowed how big of a deal it was that Moonlight actually won that Oscar.
“I’m in the skrt with ya—yeah, right
I’m the skrt with ya—cool story
I’m on the j—’nough of this”
“Jay Z is mocking the cliche new rap lyrics, which usually refer to “stealing your bitch” or using slang terms like “skrt”. Throughout the song he talks about how new rappers today always talk about the same stuff. Here he is demonstrating that by stating these basic lines.”
“He knows that no one in the rap game can steal his girl because he feels that he is on top and that he has the baddest wife. So, he interrupts these cliche phrases with “yeah right” and “cool story” because he is sick of hearing them.”
I love this bar simply because it’s a bit cheeky. It gives off the impression that Yes Jay Z does listen to some new rappers or at least has heard of them but doesn’t really take them seriously. It gives off that competitive nature that I feel all rappers should have and I’m happy Jay still has even though he’s been in the game for so long. It’s kind of an “I see all of you, but you lot aren’t a big deal to me” kind of vibe.
“I don’t be on the ‘Gram goin’ ham
Givin’ information to the pork, that’s all spam
Please don’t talk about guns
That you ain’t never gon’ use”
“Jay-Z doesn’t need to post threatening pics on Instagram. Since he’s the real deal, he doesn’t need to pretend he’s going “ham” (hard as a motherfucker).”
“Also, if you’re posting your gangsta lifestyle on Instagram, you’re basically providing information to the police, the “pork” (being “pig” a slang for police).
Jay is sick of hearing rappers claiming to live a thug lifestyle and being hustlers who use guns when the reality couldn’t be more different.”
This bar is important because I think it’s a thing that newer, younger rappers need to get into their heads. Social Media has led to a rise in rappers feeling the need to show just how ‘hard’ they are and they do this in the form of flexing their muscle, which in this case, is in the form of guns or threats which is a very stupid thing to do in my opinion. You’re basically implicating yourselves to any criminal act you undertake in the future, providing evidence and information for the police making their jobs all the more easy; basically providing an online backlog of everything they would need to throw you in jail. Jay Z’s just saying what we all think whenever we see a new video of a rapper brandishing his guns around on Instagram or Twitter.