It’s been over a year since Jay-Z has released a solo song. Last January, the proud papa gave us “Glory,” a heartfelt passage swirling around the joy brought on by the birth of daughter Blue Ivy. On Thursday (April 11), Hov gave us a drastically different update with the dark and menacing “Open Letter.”
It’s being reported that the new jam, which was produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, was recorded Wednesday night and then delivered to Jay’s Life + Times site Thursday at 7:45 a.m. ET. Whatever the particulars, Hov raps with a definite sense of urgency and disgust. “Let this sh– knock,” Jigga instructs as the brooding bassline and boombastic drums begin to build.
His first order of business is to dispel all the rumors surrounding he and Beyoncé’s recent anniversary trip to Cuba. “I done turned Havana to Atlanta/ Guayabera shirts and bandannas,” he boasts before he goes further spitting: “Boy from the hood got White House clearance.”
Jay tells his political opposition he’s fine with the jail time, but at least let him commit a “real crime.” “I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef/ Out of spite, I just might flood these streets/ Hear the freedom in my speech,” he raps, reminding listeners of his criminal capabilities, which he exercised before breaking into the music business.
Hov, who is reportedly prepping his 12th studio album, continues his vent bragging on his new Roc Nation deal with Universal Music Group and his move from Brooklyn Nets minority owner to full-fledged sports agent. If Jay wants to represent basketball players in his new business venture, he must first divest in the team. “Would’ve brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off it, you f—in’ dweeb/ I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seats/ You buy that bullsh–, you better keep your receipts,” he warns.
Aware of the power of his words and delicate nature of his political ties, the veteran lyricist takes even more poetic license. “Obama said, ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached’/ You don’t need this sh–anyway; chill with me on the beach,” he raps humorously.
Chances are the new track won’t beat down any Billboard charts, or rank among Jay-Z’s biggest hits. Instead, “Open Letter” delivers something more valuable: an immediate and intimate look to the mind of a man whose words are worth millions.