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.
"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
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
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,"
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
4) Jenny's Back On The Block --
"American Idol" producer says Jennifer Lopez returning to
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
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