Could the metallic gold album cover for Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch The Throne" collab, the braggadocious songs, the new video with the customized Maybach, all released this week, be a part of an elaborate plan to get fans to digest a more reflective message?
After five tracks of boasting, the hip hop heroes take a moment to stop beating on their chests to actually examine their mistakes on "New Day." In the song produced by Kanye, Wu-Tang frontman RZA, and Mike Dean, Jay-Z and Kanye write from the perspective of being fathers. Kanye even expresses remorse for bashing former President George Bush back in 2005.
Jay-Z and Kanye vow to help their unborn sons avoid the obstacles they faced amid their highly successful careers.
Kanye's powerful verse comes up first in the sequence and is most grabbing because the Chicago rapper/producer is equally popular for his media outbursts as he is for his celebrated works. While Kanye has admitted his inability to resist debauchery on past songs "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "All Falls Down," "New Day" digs deeper.
On the slow, thumping track that samples Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," Kanye says he doesn't want his son to have an ego, be blindsided by the limelight, be unable to exercise discretion when making political statements at televised events supporting national disasters, or lose his mother tragically.
Kanye's statement "George Bush doesn't care about black people," made at a 2005 Hurricane Katrina telethon, has haunted him since. The backlash resurfaced last fall when Bush addressed the diss in his book "Decision Points" and later told Matt Lauer that the criticism was a low point of his presidency.
Kanye rhymes that he would help his son make better choices. "And I'll never let 'em ever hit the telethon, I mean even if people dyin' and the world ends. See, I just want him to have an easy life, not like Yeezy life. Just want him to be someone people like."
While Kanye has represented himself as a convincing narcissist, he reveals a shocking insecurity on "New Day," saying point blank, "Don't be like your daddy."
Jay-Z, however, writes from the point of view of desiring to be the father he never had: "Cause my dad left me and I promise to never repeat him." If assumptions about Jay-Z's desire to have a child soon can be deduced from interpreting his song lyrics, there is plenty of support on "New Day."
The New York rapper opens his verse with an apologetic note, offering sympathy because of the effect his wrongdoings will have on his son. "Sins of a father make your life ten times harder," he raps.
But Jay spends the majority of his verse fantasizing about the close relationship they will establish "bondin' on charters" and celebrating at "black bar mitzvahs."
Jay, who raps that it "took [him] 26 years to find [his] path," adds, "My only job is cut the time in half."
Hopefully, the buzzy album track will be released as a single and will be promoted with a compelling visual that would be worthy of next year's Video Music Award for Best Video With A Message. Hip hop could sure use a shift in focus.
Jay-Z and Kanye also supported this week a cause backed by the estate of Bob Marley. A new video for Bob Marley & The Wailers' song "High Tide Or Low Tide" was released globally Tuesday. The video contains recent footage of families impacted by the East African crisis is which millions of people are facing starvation due to increasing food costs and a drought.
The music industry was also saddened to learn of the death of former Warrant lead singer Jani Lane, whose body was found Thursday in a hotel in Woodland Hills, California. The cause of death has not yet been determined for the voice behind Warrant's late '80s and early '90s hits "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie."
After several failed attempts, it looks as though a Michael Jackson tribute concert might actually happen in October in Wales. Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo, Smokey Robinson, and Leona Lewis are among the artists reported to participate. Lastly, "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe confirmed that Jennifer Lopez will be returning as a judge for another season of the popular singing competition.
See the links below for more information on this week's news stories. Be sure to come back next weekend for another dosage of the best music news. See you then.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 5 MUSIC NEWS STORIES
1) Heaven Isn't Too Far Away-- Former Warrant lead singer Jani Lane dies at 47.
2) Under Pressure -- Kanye says people look at him like he is Hitler.
3) All Hail The King -- Aguilera, Cee Lo and more to sing at Jackson tribute concert.
4) Jenny's Back On The Block --"American Idol" producer says Jennifer Lopez returning to "Idol."
5) We Are The World -- Bob Marley estate releases new video to benefit East African crisis.
Photo credit: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Getty Images Entertainment/ Daniel Boczarski
Photo credit: Jani Lane, Wire Image/Jesse Grant
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