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Music Is A Weapon : Jay Z & Kanye West Drop “Otis”

By now we have all been bombarded on the internets with yet another so called “Highly Anticipated Album” from Jay &  Ye!  Well the album entitled “Watch The Throne” is still not out & is allegedly going to be out on August 8, as we keep watching the throne & praise leaked single after single. First we heard H.A.M & now “Otis”  & the stans came out in droves praising the usual “I am the greatest, richest & everyone that doesn’t like what I stand for is a hating “Ninja” lyrics that seems to be all Jay & Ye & most of mainstream hip-hop seem to be all about today.

Jay & Ye to me literally dropped “Otis” -the memory  & legacy of a great man , who in his young age lifted his people, his entire nation  & the world to see the soul & substance of Black America at a time when we were seen as second class citizens who didn’t matter & were left to carry the ills & burdens of our nation disproportionately on our back- A time that is not much different from today. I guess I stand alone  with the journalist from the Chicago Tribune in having the yearning desire  for an elevation in music that actually reflects the true soul & life of the fruits of Hip-Hop’s Roots as the voice of the people, who are often forgotten & need & use music for inspiration & hope for a better tomorrow. As some of our leaders call for a call to consciousness at a time when even the blind can see & feel the suffering of the people, there is no time better than now to examine our own consciousness of the reality that surrounds us locally & globally. As global hip-hop artists use their voices in the true essence of hip-hop as the voice of the people , think about who you are supporting & how they represent your voice!

A snippet of Redding’s 1966 soul classic “Try a Little Tenderness” kicks it off and Jay-Z and West then get busy trading verses about how incredibly large they’re living. “I invented swag, poppin’ bottles, puttin’ supermodels in a cab,” Jay-Z declares. “I guess I got my swagga back.”..West scores points for dropping in a reference to Greek mythology (or is he nodding to the French design house?): “Luxury rap/The Hermes of verses/Sophisticated ignorance/Write my curses in cursive.”…But the references to luxury cars and private jets quickly lose their escapist luster, grossly out of step with a summer in which joblessness and foreclosure are becoming all too common for many Americans. READ MORE

No one can deny the talents of Jay & Ye & the dynasty that they continue to build, but as I watch the throne of the glossy flossy emperors with little substance in addressing the needs, trials & tribulations of the people of their Kingdom, I can’t help  but to wonder what the people really want when they ask for change, as they continue to follow & praise the same leaders who come with the same ol’, same ol’, as their loyal followers continue to throw can’t do no wrong praises & roses at their Bentley motorcades as they drive by leaving unrealistic aspirations for a people whose reality can use a lot more inspiration just to get by. Music is a weapon  & it can be used to kill the people or to give them new life in freedom & hope for a better tomorrow. As Nina Simone declared in her Protest Anthlogy & Lauryn Hill took to a new generation called hip-hop:  ”An artist’s duty is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters,sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I am concerned it’s their choice,I choose to reflect the times & the situations in which I find myself, that to me is my duty, how can you be an artist & not reflect the times…”

I look at my environment and wonder where the fire went? What happened to everything we used to be?….Hip-Hop started out in the heart now everyone trying to chart..Come on baby, light my fire,Everything you drop is so tired, Music is supposed to inspire, How come we ain’t getting no higher? Now tell me your philosophy On exactly what an artist should be,Should they be someone with prosperity, And no concept of reality? Now, who you know without any flaws. That lives above the spiritual laws, And does anything they feel just because There’s always someone there who’ll applaud.” (c) Lauryn Hill

The release of “Otis” has brought new light & dialogue to the great man & musical genius who is known worldwide as Otis Redding & we can all thank Jay & Ye for reviving this time in history; However, at the age of 42, call me crazy but I just expect a little higher standard from the man who is no doubt seen as the most powerful  & the global representative of the culture which we call hip-hop. How can we ask our young people to do better  in their lyrical content & what they stand for when the example of their elders leaves little to be desired in being the antithesis of the change that we want to see?  I wonder what Otis would say because the lyrical content in this song is far from trying a little tenderness.

I, like many have been mesmerized & hypnotized by hot beats & mind blowing lyrical flows that gloss over the lack of substance in lyrical content, but there comes a time when we can not help but see the walls of the kingdom crumbling around us in desperate need for renovation.  As Clutch Magazine asks “who’s the blame for misogyny in hip-hop, the artists or the fans?” It’s time for an overhaul in self evaluation because we can’t continue to blame the artists for  giving us what we seem to love to consume. After all it’s a business & we need to start being more proactive & invested in the business of ourselves, our future & our legacy.

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman

If we want to celebrate Otis Redding’s legacy through hip-hop, then let’s stop sitting on the roc or at the dock of the bay wasting time & try a little tenderness because we have dreams to remember as we watch the throne. All the bravado in the world means nothing if a warrior does not move his nation forward in their time of need.

If there is no struggle..there is no progress..those who profess to Favor Freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground…they want the ocean without the awful roar of it’s many waters..Power concedes nothing without demand.” Fredrick Douglas-1857

If we have lost touch with what our forefathers discovered and knew, this has been due to the system of education to which we were introduced. This system of education prepared us for a subservient role to Europe and things European. It was directed at estranging us from our own cultures in order the more effectively to serve a new and alien interest.” Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah – Excerpt of speech given at the Congress of Africanists in Accra, Ghana, December 1962.

Jay-Z x Kanye West – Otis Lyrics

[Otis Redding]

It makes it easier, easier to bear

You won’t regret it, no, no

No, girl they won’t forget it

Love is their home

Happiness yeah

Sq-sq-sq-squeeze her, don’t tease her

Never leave her…

[Jay-Z]

Sounds so soulful don’t you agree

I invented swag

Poppin’ bottles, puttin’ supermodels in the cab, proof

I guess I got my swagger back, truth

New watch alert, Hublot’s

Or the big face Rollie I got two of those

Arm out the window through the city I maneuver slow

Cock back, snap back

See my cut through the holes

[Kanye West]

Damn Yeezy and Hov,

Where the hell ya been?

Niggas talkin real reckless: stuntmen

I adopted these niggas, Phillip Drummond ‘em

Now I’m bout to make them tuck they whole summer in

They say I’m crazy, well, I’m ’bout to go dumb again

They aint see me cause I pulled up in my other Benz

Last week I was in my other other Benz

Throw your diamonds up cause we in this bitch another ‘gain

[Jay-Z]

Photo shoot fresh, looking like wealth

I’m ’bout to call the paparazzi on myself

Uh, live form the Mercer

Run up on Yeezy the wrong way, I might murk ya

Flee in the G450 I might surface

Political refugee, asylum can be purchased

Uh, everythings for sale, I got 5 passports

I’m never going to jail

[Kanye West]

I made “Jesus Walks” I’m never going to hell

Couture level flow, it’s never going on sale

Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses

Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive

I get it custom, you a customer

You ain’t ‘customed to going through Customs, you ain’t been nowhere, huh?

And all the ladies in the house, got ‘em showing off

I’m done, I hit ya up mana-naaaa!

[Jay-Z]

Welcome to Havana

Smoking cubanos with Castro in cabanas

Viva Mexico, Cubano

Dominicano, all the plugs that I know

Driving Benzes, wit’ no benefits

Not bad huh? For some immigrants

Build your fences, we diggin’ tunnels

Can’t you see? We gettin’ money up under you

[Kanye]

Can’t you see the private jets flyin’ over you?

Maybach bumper sticker read “What would Hova do?”

Jay is chillin’, ‘Ye is chillin’

What more can I say? We killin’ ‘em

Hold up, before we end this campaign

As you can see, we done bodied the damn lames

Lord, please let them accept the things they can’t change

And pray that all of their pain be champagne

Well everything maybe for sale in the worlds of Jay & Ye, but we don’t have to accept that change is beyond our control because when we fight for & bring about real change, we can all drink champagne without the pain-the way Otis intended & delivered.

While your eating the pork in the H.A.M remember that all Rocs no matter how glossy & shiny they may appera are not diamonds! We are what we consume so consume carefully.

“H.A.M”

(with Jay-Z)

[Kanye West]

It was all good just a week ago

niggas feel theyselves and then Watch The Throne drop

niggas kill themselves

What niggas gon do Hov?

This a new crack on a new stove

I’m in the two-door, true that

niggas tellin’ me “You back”

Like a nigga ever left up out this bitch, huh?

and if life a bitch suck my dick huh?

and I bet she fucked the whole clique, huh

By the way nigga, you should fuckin’ quit, nigga

Just forget it, you talk it, I live it

Like Eli I did it, jokes on you muthafucker and I get it

No paper hoe, but you can have some more of me

Or-gy, or are we speakin methaphorically

Historically, I’m kickin’ bitches out like Pam, nigga

Goin’ HAM nigga, me and Jigga

and a nigga still young, wanna have no kids

But I’ve been practicing with some actresses as bad as shit

And a few white girls, asses flat a shit

But the head so good, damn a nigga glad he hit

Got em jumpin’ out the building

Watch out below, a million out the door

I’m about to go HAM

Hard As a Muthafucker,

Let these niggas know who I am

I’m about to go HAM

Hard As a Muthafucker,

Let these niggas know who I am

[Jay-Z]

fuck y’all mad at me for?

You don’t even know what I’ve been through

I play chicken with a Mack truck

Y’all muthafuckers woulda been moved

I swam waters with great whites

Y’all muthafuckers woulda been chewed

I hustle with vultures late nights

Y’all muthafuckers woulda been food

fuck wrong with these dudes

Try to walk around in these shoes

See the shit I saw growing up

And maybe you can take a peek at these boo’s

niggas fantasize about the shit that I do daily like

These rappers rap about all the shit that I do really

I’m like really half a billi nigga

Really you got baby money

Keep it real with niggas

niggas ain’t got my lady money

Watch the Throne don’t step on our road

Bad enough we let you step on our globe

When my nephew died, daddy dead

niggas took the price on my uncles head

Nobody called the cops as my uncle bled

So I feel like I would like to know my uncles bread

Bow down, brother pay homage

don’t spill hate all on my garments

Commes Des Garcon, fuck your fresh

head shots nigga fuck your vests

fuck the pig, no pork on my fork

Peace God cause you know a nigga just went Ham

Hard As a Muthafucker,

Let these niggas know who I am

Yeah I’m ’bout to go HAM

Hard As a Muthafucker,

Let these niggas know who I am

Yeah I’m ’bout to go HAM

Instead of going HAM , I would rather let our future generation know that they can have dreams to remember!

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