Grade A Certified

JAY-Z: "FLAIR FOR THE DRAMATIC"

Posted by J. Tinsley on June 6, 2009

With the release of his street single, “D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)”, the hype for “Blueprint 3” has officially begun.

Last night represented a moment in which hip-hop’s individuality was on full display. No other genre of music celebrates the event of premiering a new record by one of its most storied artists like the genre that birthed itself on the side streets of New York City nearly three decades ago. With 2009 unofficially crowned as the coming out party for hip-hop “rookie”,  Drake (he’s been rapping since ’06), a familiar voice and face managed to have every ear fixated on one New York radio station, Hot 97.1.

Earlier that day, news broke stating one of hip-hop’s most legendary voices, the often opinionated Funkmaster Flex, would be debuting Jay-Z’s street single from his much rumored, debated and ballyhooed album, Blueprint 3. The title, “D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)”, only added fuel to an already lit and healthy fire with production credits in the form of Chicago’s own NO I.D. and Kanye West. While it was basically a given that no shots would be fired at the three most notable names of the Roger Troutman influenced trait, T-Pain, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, the buzz that had been created around the track in a matter of minutes was nothing short of astonishing.

Throughout the course of the next several hours, opinions were given and praises were thrown in Jay’s direction often in the form of the “G.O.A.T.” label. Hip-hop’s newest form of communication, Twitter, was the stage for all comments Jay-Z, “D.O.A.” and Blueprint 3 related. Similar to Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” during the Great Depression, a virtual who’s who of hip-hop media, including Elliott Wilson, LowKey, Miss Info and Joe La Puma, along with millions of fans across the country, crowded around their radios/computers to hear the record which seemingly had the music world at a standstill during its own economic crisis.

“The energy leading up to everything was beyond crazy, and honestly for awhile it didn’t matter how the song sounded. People were going to play it regardless,” one New Yorker said. “It reminded me of the Nas/Jay beef when we waited around for hours to hear ‘Ether’ and ‘Superugly’. Jay really has mind control over people. He made people switch from throwbacks to button-ups. If he said for everyone to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge at 3 o’clock, I really believe people would.”

Flex and Mister Cee took the helm of the daunting task and seemed to embrace the moment with more excitement than professionalism, but honestly it didn’t matter at that moment. They were fans–fans who received a personal shoutout from Jay himself on the record–but fans nonetheless. Rare form was an understatement in trying to describe Flex’s energy. With every shot he took at Hot 97’s rival station, Power 105, and even bloggers, the energy was reaching near unprecedented levels. To put the moment into context, it is what the world was hoping to feel moments before the last shot was taken in game seven of a Kobe/LeBron-driven NBA Finals.

Each “bring it back” by Flex and Cee further soldified Jay as the greatest of all time in at least one category, “seizing the moment”. No artist in hip-hop history, with the exception of maybe Tupac, had a flair for the dramatic like the kid who once proclaimed himself a “Marcy Projects hallway loiterer”. While his “I Declare War” concert in 2005 was more of a peace offering than a call to lyrical arms, many still remember him for his 2001 Summer Jam performance when he debuted the now infamous/classic diss record, “Takeover”. Win or lose, no matter the outcome, Jay seemingly has the knack to demand all eyes upon him at a moments notice.

The rest, as videos, pictures and articles will say, is history. Listeners marveled at the realization of a new Jay-Z record, not only because of who he is, but more so what he represents. Of the most accepted “top 3” (Tupac, Biggie and Jay), he happens to be the only one capable of releasing new material (while Pac still may have hundreds of songs stashed away). Yet and still, it is an unwritten acceptance that new music from the man who brought forth “Reasonable Doubt” and “The Blueprint” will not and can not make music forever, so moments like these always manage to etch their way into history.

Regardless of what the long term impact of the song will cement itself as, at least for one night, Jay managed to do something “hip-hop purists” had been pleading for years.

Make New York the center of attention again.

Flashback: T.I. x Jay-Z: “Bar For Bar, Lyric For Lyric”

Kudos to Legend for the dirty/CDQ

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