Thursday, October 25, 2012

Line for Line: Jay-Z "44 Four's"

When I was putting my recent "Tribe Called Quest" post together last week it occurred to me that I have never written a proper review of anything by Jay-Z for this site. I wrote some dumb jokes about a promo picture for Watch the Throne, and I've written things for other sites, but nothing for my own blog. It's high time that changed, friend.

I think my experience with Jigga matches that many of many true hip hop heads: I was put off by the first song I ever heard from him which was on BET and called "Ain't No Playa". So I decided to pass on Jay-Z until I was introduced to "Friend or Foe", and then I accepted Reasonable Doubt into my collection. After that, I stayed with Jay until about Hard Knock Life, and then I lost interest (for the most part). Every now and then I would check in Jay, and I still bought his albums, but for the most part I thought he had lost it. I still think that. Today I appreciate his technical abilities, but I wouldn't consider myself a fan. I think this chart that I made for the Smart and Angry Blog sums it up (it has some Kanye stuff in it too, ignore that):

But what does this have to do with my Tribe called Quest post? Well, while I was thinking about Tribe's song "Can I Kick It?", I was reminded of Jay's song "22 2's" since it uses almost the same chorus. I never liked the J song. Sure, he uses Tibe's chorus "Can I kick it?" and waits for the crowd to call back "yes you can", and that's all good. I considered it a sign of respect and no big deal, except that Jay didn't include the end of the chorus, the "GO OOOON THEN". Which still drives me nuts. But I still appreciated the lyrics to 22 2's. Yeah, he says "to" or "two" or "too" a lot. That takes planning and is pretty good rapping. But I wouldn't call that song out as anything special since I loath the chorus, but this version of "44 4's", his more recent update, hits this shit on the head, mainly because he pulls the beat from the original song and get's all technical with it. He even starts with a callback to the original "22 2's", then it get's good.

Let's kick it. Go on then...


See? Nobody can deny that Jay knows his stuff. Especially with his 44 4's shit. He does say "four" or "for" a lot! Mad technical skills. This is a lot better than 22 2's, it's very good. Classic.

roc-a-fella 4 ever, Hov 4 life

first debut classic, first album 4 mics

i shoulda got a five but n*ggas lacked 4sight

but i don’t give a fuck, i ain’t do it 4 the hype

i did it 4 the hustlas, 4 the ghetto, 4 their plight

4 the struggle, 4 those who bubble white,

4 fly 4×4s, roofless cars, flawless ice,

4 the pain so y’all can feel what it’s like

4 all the times it rained 40 days 40 nights

4 all the promise made that never came to the light

i get my own 40 acres:

give me 4 nights, 4 o’s, a glock .40 4 the jackers and i’m spike

4 the .44 will suffice

a 14 year-old to look out 4 the vice

and y’all can sit back and just wait 4 the flight

ya boy’ll take off like i been strippin’ all my life

that’s the type of meta4s I write

to let n*ggas know I was real b4 the mic

4 front rows had the fur at the fight

no PETA on my peter left some room 4 the divas

in a suite we’ll meet ‘em if you wild 4 the night

i’m on the rampage champagne pours on the floor

4 all those who ain’t make it here and lost they life

i’ll never 4get y’all 4 any price

not 4 no hoes, not 4 no ice, not 4 no fame,
nor 4 bright lights

so i’ma end this here this fly ass kite


IN CONCLUSION: I call Jay on his bullshit a lot. And I wouldn't ever call him the nicest. But the boy older gentleman can spit. This is the proof.

44 4'S SCORE 9/10

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