Musical “Grandeur” Threatened by Textual Asininity

Posted on June 13, 2012



I refuse to assess Jay-Z and Kanye West’s project “Watch the Throne” on a site about aesthetics. Some may argue in favor of the sonic beauty in the album’s production or even the lyrical refinement found in its rhyme patterns … but nothing can make up for the many content-related violations in its songs. To suggest they too often violate logic, history and conscience would be a colossal understatement. The only example I’ll provide of the asininity comes from a perfectly-crafted Gawker article that challenges the saddening and misguided notion that Jay and Ye are valid faces of a contemporary Black Power Movement.

Interestingly, as enthusiastic as they are to herald certain aspects of radicalist black power, West and Jay-Z seem to be just as enthusiastic about ignoring whole other elements of the movement that don’t align with their lifestyles. For instance, Fred Hampton, who Jay-Z likes to intimate he was born to replace, ended up on the FBI’s radar in the first place because he used to advocate for the destruction of capitalism. “You don’t fight fire with fire,” [Hampton] once said in a not uncommon inveigh against America’s preferred economic system. “You fight fire with water…. We’re not gonna fight capitalism with Black capitalism. We’re gonna fight capitalism with socialism. Socialism is the people. If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.”

Posted in: Music