JAY Z: SUCCESS AND WHAT’S NEXT
A Hustle in Review
It’s the second week of May, and just a few days ago it was announced that JAY Z will be headlining his self-created, Budweiser-sponsored, Made in America music festival in September. This led myself and many others across the internets to believe that there will be a new Hov album releasing between now and then. Now this may be moving too fast, but let’s say Hov actually does release a new album this year. I think, “Great, we need that!” But what I really want to know is what’s next? Personally, I have high hopes for the GOAT of the rap game.
“So once Beyoncé pops out these twins, my dad needs to go ahead and drop that album.”
That was a text I sent someone in regards to JAY Z; the man who I’ve considered my spirit dad, coming out with a new album. I have to admit, I’ve been pretty anxious for Hov to drop a new full-length project for well over a year and a half. With the possibility of a new album lingering, I’ve been reflecting on Hov’s career and started contemplating what I’d like to see happen in the coming years. Now, I’ve seen and heard people discuss the possibility of Hov becoming the Bruce Springsteen of hip hop; I actually think it’s possible.
Much like Bruce, Jay’s music has spanned over multiple decades and through great artistry has adapted to the changing times as well as the climate changes in the industry in order to create good music. However, what sets Bruce apart from the other greats and essentially makes him the standard, is his unmatched consistency and longevity. MJ, Paul McCartney, and Prince, although phenomenal, can’t be awarded that title because Bruce has managed to not only outlast them but he’s never actually taken a break from producing good music. In over 60 years of stardom, Bruce has remained dedicated to his craft; taking little to no time off from touring or recording. I’d say it’s about time for a hip hop artist to follow that model and do the same. In the years following the release of Magna Carta, Jay has shown us a real glimpse of genius with no signs of slowing down, but we need more consistency. This is why I’m going to need a new JAY Z album ASAP!
Now, Bruce’s career might be the standard for success, but let’s look at another all-time great that Jay has actually compared himself to. With the 2009 release of Jay’s single “Empire State of Mind” which sampled Frank Sinatra’s famous “New York, New York” anthem, Jay began referencing himself as “the new Sinatra”. Frank Sinatra aka “The Chairman of the Board”, is one of pop culture’s most iconic names and voices, and someone who Jay has been able to relate to over the years for several reasons. A primary reason for comparison is that Frank and Jay shared similar upbringings and are synonymous with the place that raised them, New York City. In 1993 and 1994, Sinatra released his Duets and Duets II albums; respectfully this is the route I’d love to see Hov take in terms of future releases.
Let’s run through the possibilities of how awesome releasing duet themed albums could be. Think about the amount of collaborations that Jay has never done or revisited in a while and the possibility of him giving us a better version of the collaborations that were just lukewarm. I’m salivating at the mouth thinking about this. Future and Jay gave us “I Got the Keys”, but let’s get Future actually rhyming on a track. We’ve already seen how dope the “March Madness” remix was with Nas; how about songs with Wale, Meek Mill, Joey Badass, or A$AP Rocky? Those are untouched, untapped, potential bangers for the East coast and New Era (pun slightly intended) fans. Standout tracks with the game’s best rappers would be epic. Hell, let’s even get a Joe Budden and JAY Z track. We’ve also been clamoring for a true Hov and Kendrick song and we haven’t seen Jay and his protégé, J. Cole together in quite some time either. This is all do-able. For Hov, the benefits of this type of release is that the pressure wouldn’t solely be on him to create greatness on every track (two to three verses, hook and chorus) and there would be more flexibility to go in the studio, bound, and create a verse OR two with someone new.
Since this is all hypothetical, we have to ask; is there realistically enough left in the tank for Mr. Carter to accomplish such a task? I certainly think so. Last year he was superb on Pusha Ts “Drug Dealers Anonymous”, Remy Ma and Fat Joe’s “All the Way Up” remix, and DJ Khaled’s “I Got the Keys” with Future, which we mentioned earlier. This year he jumped on DJ Khaled’s first single, “Shining” with Beyoncé and proved that he actually has A LOT left in the tank to compete with the new rap greats. Hov did faulted on Frank Ocean’s “Biking” with his scat/mumble rap intro but you can’t win them all.
Call me optimistic, but it doesn’t stop there. What else is left for Hov accomplish before he can go on a Springsteen-like run and tour well into his 60s? In my opinion, wo collaborative albums; one with wife Beyoncé and another with his throne partner Kanye West. Some may argue that a husband/wife album would be overkill for the Knowles-Carters, but their track record is just too damn impeccable to overlook. They’re damn near flawless (again no pun), and their chemistry was made in musical heaven (thank you music gods for whatever baby Blue and those twins bring us in decades to come). A 10 to 12 song album shouldn’t be hard since they feed off each other so well. The other collaboration, a “Watch the Throne II”, if you will, could be harder to get completed since Jay and ‘Ye’s relationship hasn’t been the same for some time. Let’s be honest though; if either of them are going to do an album with another rapper, it HAS to be each other. Miss me with that Drake and Kanye bullshit. We all know “Glow” was mediocre at best, but I’ll save that discussion for another day. WTT can be the culmination of two decades worth of brotherhood, friendship, family, black excellence, and The Dynasty.
So to sum it all up, do I actually believe Shawn Corey “JAY Z” Carter will release four more albums before riding off into the sunset? I’d say probably not. But can he do it? Empathically, yes!