Congratulations are in order for Hip Hop artist Jay Z as he was picked to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame Thursday. What’s huge about such an honor is that he’s the first Hip Hop artist to be chosen. That’s big considering the content of his lyrics.
Of course, there are naysayers but those same people may have never listened to a song of his. They may have heard a song but listened to, no. There is a difference.
Country, Classical, Jazz and other genres get respect because of their lyrics so why should Hip Hop not receive the same recognition? Jay Z lyrics may not appeal to Susan or John that lives in Beverly Hills or Buck who grew up in Kentucky but, to the African-American culture who grew up in any urban setting in the world he spoke directly to us and for us.
It’s easy to view his music as violent, crime-infested talk but, that’s the life we see every day. We don’t shop on Rodeo Drive, drive 4-wheelers or kill deer for a living. We live in a place where drugs are sold, murders happen, Chinese food is a 4-course meal and where the police are afraid to patrol.
Jay Z speaks from the heart. It doesn’t have to be what he went through per say, but it’s the message and the tone in which he says it that gives us a voice.
When we hear Jay rap it’s like seeing Barack Obama with his hand on the bible. We know where he came from and how he fought to get there. That’s the power of Jay’s songs. Does it glory violence and drugs, yes, but, it sheds light on the culture.
They say the good die young, in the hood where I’m from
I only got one question to that – why the fuck am I here?
I look to the air, I ask God, “Love me please,”
But in reality, only people that hug me is thieves
Same niggas that send shots through my rugby sleeves
They wanna, slug me and leave, I’m thinkin it must be me
Please shed light, the hood’s dark
I did my dirt but got a good heart
Shouldn’t that count for somethin?
I was told I’d amount to nothin, most of my childhood
Liked by folks it was stuntin my growth
Seperated me from the shit I was wantin the most
Felt myself comin close to pumpin them O’s
Lump in my throat, chest poked out, face was poker
Tryin to, erase my ghostes, chase the smokers
Got demons on both shoulders
Tryin to chauffeur my life through the streets
In other words nigga my will was weak
Please feel what I speak
This ain’t your average ordinary jargon
Weak rap niggas be talkin
This shit is deep, from the mind of Busta, ‘X and me
To all my fallen soldiers, rest in peace, til we meet niggas
Right there is why he belongs in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. You just read that and thought “How the hell”. That’s the point of Hip Hop. It’s there to make you think. Jay Z is the king, he’s the same as Garth Brooks, Micheal Jackson or any other person that you can place in the Hall of Fame.
No need to judge his lyrics or his lifestyle. Just applaud the man for the letting you enter our lives. This is an honor that’s long overdue for the culture. Jay Z was a perfect choice.