- Patrick Nash
First of all let me start this with a statement. Kingdom Come, the album this song appears on, is underrated. Granted, there are a few songs on there that don't really stack up to most of Jay's catalog, but for the most part it holds up. It is my belief that it may be too "grown up" for a lot of people that were listening to hip hop when this album dropped in 2006. Maybe people expected more from Jay's come back album (he had just finished a 3 year hiatus from music). Nevertheless, this album is slept on.
Back to the subject. This is one of my favorite Jay-Z songs. Unlike the last article, this one is mostly based on lyrical content with a minor focus on the beat itself. So lets delve into that first. Not only was the chorus sung by Chris Martin (lead singer of the alternative rock group Coldplay), but the instrumental was also provided by him. The beat itself has a different feel compared to the rest of the album. It still has a hip hop vibe to it, including a booming baseline, but it also has a more live instrument feel to it. Almost orchestral. It's a clean beat and deserves a listen on a solid sound system or headphones. Just like most song, the instrumental was the first thing the drew me in. Second, and the portion that will be the longest, was the lyrics.
Jay-Z is by far on of the greatest lyricists of all time. He was recently inducted into the songwriter hall of fame (the first hip hop artist to be inducted). He is a master of metaphors and his word play is ridiculous. There are still a lot of people out there that don't consider hip hop anything more than just poetry. And if you break it down into the simplest of forms they would be correct. But it takes more than just an ability to rhyme to make a song work. But we will get into that in another post. I am going to highlight some of my favorite lines, but, I implore everyone to read the book DECODED by Jay-Z. I like to think of it as a musical in written form. I am going to refer to DECODED for the lyrics to ensure they are correct. I will only post a few so I don't make this post any longer than it already is.
"See I got demons in my past, so I got daughters on the way, if the prophecy's correct, then the child should have to pay, for the sins of a father, so I barter my tomorrows, against my yesterdays, in hopes that she'll be okay."
"Life is but a dream to me, gun shots sing to these, other guys but lullabies, don't mean a thing to me."
"Some say Hov, how you get so fly, I said from not being afraid to fall out the sky, my physical's a shell, so when I say farewell, my soul will find an even, higher plane to dwell."
"This is Jay everyday, no compromise, no compass comes with this life, just eyes, so to map it out, you must look inside, sure books can guide you, but your heart defines you."
"This song is like a Hallmark card, until you reach here, so till she's here, and she declared, the heir, I will prepare, a blueprint for you to print, a map for you to get back, a guide for your eyes, and so you won't lose scent, I'll make a stink for you to think, I ink these verses full of prose, so you don't get conned out of two cents."
These are just a few of the lines that stand out to me. You can read them on a strictly surface level and it is still impressive. But you should read more into it. Look deeper and break down the lines. It's definitely worth it. Like always I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have written. If you enjoyed it hit the like button, Leave a comment and I will respond. On that note.....