For [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist], the quick-witted lyricist turned author, emotion is at the heart of many of his rhymes. Such was the case behind "Lucifer," a rumbling Kanye West-produced number from 2003's The Black Album that found Jay-Z spitting a warning with quite a bite.
"Lord forgive him/ He got them dark forces in him," Jay raps on the track. "But he also got a righteous cause for sinning/ Them a murder me so I got to murder them."
In the pages of "Decoded," his new book in stores Tuesday (November 16), the Brooklyn MC reveals that the song was about the desire for revenge against the Notorious B.I.G.'s killers. And before his event at the New York Public Library on Monday night, he talked to MTV News about why he felt songs like this needed to be explained years later.
"I wanted people to have the proper context of rap, the generation, what we went through, these emotions behind these songs," Jay-Z told MTV News. "A song like 'Lucifer,' it's really about the struggle and really about dealing with death and having that feeling. The evil is inside of you, not this mythical character with pitchforks and things like that. Dealing with a feeling of wanting revenge."
But like Russell Simmons before him, Jay-Z argues that rap is a form of poetry influenced by the MCs' experiences and the bigger events around them — some of which may be violent.
"You hear a song like 'F--- Tha Police' without context, and you think it's just four angry guys being disobedient," he explained. "Then you see the Rodney King beating, and you put those two in perspective and realize these are the things that were happening in the neighborhood and this comes out of anger. This comes out of love, this comes out of passion. These are real emotions. Now when you give it context, it's for the world to decide if it's right or wrong, or should have been made. But at least have the proper context."
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