Jay-Z’s highly-anticipated book “Decoded,” co-authored by the legendary Dream Hampton, hits shelves Tuesday (November 16). In celebration, we here at RapFix figured we’d weigh in with Hov verses we’d like see explained.
From Jayson Rodriguez: Jay-Z’s “4 Da Fam“
This is one of my favorite Hov verses for the sheer range of lyrical excellence. At one point, Jay is so braggadocios as he chin checks haters for trying to shorten his reign—threading pop culture and world history references together—so effortlessly it’s like he’s tying shoelaces.
“I don’t think you truly ready for this dynasty thing, you thinking Blake Carrington, I’m thinking more like Ming,” raps Hov. Then he slips in one line that’s so utterly personal, that he’s rarely spoken about since. “Plus I’m having a child, which is more frightening.”
Jay-Z is clearly on the top now. But back when this joint dropped—first time I heard it was on a DJ Dolla Bill mixtape but it surfaced properly in Amil’s debut—he was still rising, from “King of New York” status to running the game proper. His verse was provocative, pushy and powerful all at once. Maybe we weren’t ready then. A decoding of it now, though, feels like it’d be right on time.
From Hillary Crosley: Jay-Z’s “Allure”
“Say hooray to the bad guys and all the broads putting cars in they name for the stars of the game, putting cane in they bras and then tomorrow’s on the train … all in the name of love,” Jay rhymes on “Allure.” “Just to see that love locked in chains and the family came over the house to take back everything that they claim.”
This song, contained on Jay-Z’s retirement Black Album was a source of great intrigue for me. Namely, because Hov names names on the track and I had an idea of who the ladies were, but it would’ve been great to get the metaphors from Jay himself.
“Or even the worst pain is the distress of learning you’re the mistress only after that love gets slain, and the anger and the sorrow mixed up leads to mistrust and now it gets tough to ever love again, but the allure of the game keeps calling your name. To all the Lauras in the world, I feel your pain, all the Chrissie’s in every city and Tiffany Lane’s, we’re all hustlers in love with the same thing.”
Now, I figured out who Tiffany Lane is, rapper Charli Baltimore who admitted that she was the mistress of the late Notorious B.I.G. But who are Chrissie and Laura? I had to assume that these feminine examples of the drug game gone awry were plucked from the cloth of Kemba Smith, girlfriend to a drug dealer who ended up serving six years in prison herself for drug-related charges before being pardoned by former President Clinton in 2000.
What Jay verses would you like to see “Decoded”? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!