Verses: Kill Jay Z
On June 30th 2017 Jay Z released his 13th Studio album 4:44. Instead of doing an album review I decided to do a 10 Part Verses Series breaking down each track from my own point of view. Let's start with "Kill Jay Z" or how I like to call it, "Death To Ego.”
"Kill Jay Z" is the introduction to the album and it's my opinion that it's the best cut. The reason for that is we are getting the most vulnerable Hov we've gotten in a long time. This isn't the first time we've heard Jay speak so candidly on a track, however, this may just be the most vulnerable the 47 year old rapper has been.
"Kill Jay Z, they'll never love you
You'll never be enough, let's just keep it real, Jay Z
Fuck Jay Z, I mean, you shot your own brother
How can we know if we can trust Jay Z?
And you know better, nigga, I know you do
But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue
You had no father, you had the armor
But you got a daughter, gotta get softer"
Right off the bat Jay sounds like he's struggling with exactly who his alter ego is. To Kill Jay Z is to give birth (or rebirth) to Shawn Carter. While he never indicates who the "they" is one can assume he's talking to the fans or maybe the industry. He also brings back to the surface the fact that she shot his own brother, something most should be aware of from the track "You Must Love Me" from In My Lifetime Volume 1. It's been rumored Jay struggled with anger issues and not letting people in, so the "but you gotta daughter you gotta get softer" line resonates with me. Black men often do put up a shield when it comes to our emotions and inner most fears so it is no surprise that the legendary rapper has suffered for so long.
What's up, Jay Z? You know you owe the truth
To all the youth that fell in love with Jay Z
You got people you love you sold drugs to
You got high on the life, that shit drugged you
You walkin' around like you invincible
You dropped outta school, you lost your principles
At this point I felt like Jay was struggling with the guilt of glamorizing the dope game. Again this isn't the first time that Jay struggled with the means justifying his ends. At what cost does his success in the streets mean to the people still caught up in it? While we all commend those who combated street life and made it this isn't normal and shouldn't be. Jay Z is the exception and not the rule.
I know people backstab you, I felt bad too
But this 'fuck everybody' attitude ain't natural
But you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe
But you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin'?
"Fuck wrong with everybody?" is what you sayin'
But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane
Whew. At this point you just have to respect the man's point of view. I can hear Lost Ones intro when Jay said, "this ain't a diss song it's just a real song." We can all speculate like we understand the inner machinations of his relationship with Kanye but this one was pretty obvious. I feel like Jay Z wanted to give his ego one more chance to resurface especially with the, "fuck wrong with everybody" line. Certain times in life you feel like you're the last sane person in the room and at that exact point you question your own sanity. "Crazy how life works."
Overall the feel of this track is honesty. Honesty with oneself and honesty with the listeners. Shawn Carter killed Jay Z but this wasn't the first time. Shawn Carter killed Jay Z before on "There's Been A Murder" Volume 3. But the death of Jay Z at that time was different from now. Then Jay was embracing Shawn Carter the hustler not Shawn Carter the husband or Shawn Carter the family man. He wasn't struggling with his ego as he is now. Jay interfered with who Shawn Carter is or who he wants to be. This was the death of his ego, the persona he once didn't want to become. Jay Z has to suffer in order to go back to Shawn. Die Jay Z.