Jay-Z has been the target of criticism and lyrical barbs for several years now. Who am I kidding? Jay-Z has been getting dissed since his Reasonable Doubt days, when 2Pac mocked him for “Hawaiian Sophie fame.” Popular critiques of S-Dot include claims that he’s a heartless businessman, a sellout, a Biggie biter and a phony. But Jay is quick to remind people that he’s not a businessman, but rather a business, man. A living, breathing marketing plan, there is one thing Shawn Corey Carter cannot be accused of: making poor business decisions.
Dissing Jay has become a way for youngins in the game to make their mark. Among others, Game, 50 Cent and even Gucci Mane have thrown rocks at the throne in an attempt to garner buzz for themselves. Aside from a bar thrown at Fiddy at Summer Jam over a decade ago, Jay has for the most part ignored these kinds of pleas for attention. Instead, he focuses his attention on furthering his own career. Judging from his text conversations with Obama and lounging time on Brooklyn stoops with Oprah, Jay’s strategy seems to have worked.
Still, there is one thing that Jay has made clear throughout his career: do not mess with his money. So when Cash Money founder Baby aka Birdman claimed that he and Wayne made more money than Jay-Z did, Brooklyn’s finest took exception to his rule of not getting sidetracked. On “H.A.M.,” a bonus track on Watch the Throne, Jay said Birdman and Wayne had “baby money.” Calling someone out for making a false statement shouldn’t be a big deal, but Wayne’s ego knows no bounds. On “It’s Good,” a track with Jadakiss and Drake, Wayne directs the following lines at Jay:
“Talking ’bout Baby money/I got your baby money/Kidnap your b-tch, get that how much you love your baby money. I know you fake, n-gga/Pressure breaks, n-gga/I’ll take you out, that’s a date, n-gga.”
Lil Wayne – “It’s Good” (feat. Jadakiss & Drake)
Aside from the fact that this a lame and generic diss, Wayne audaciously threatens Jay’s wife. No one notable has brought another man’s wife into a beef since 2Pac did it to Biggie in the mid-nineties. And that was after 2Pac thought Biggie knew about the set up for 2Pac to be murdered. While Jay will most likely respond, don’t expect a “Takeover”-style diss. At this point in his career, Jay has nothing left to prove; his legacy is cemented as one of the greatest ever. Wayniacs, as I like to refer to Wayne’s ultra-fans, either won’t care about the beef because they are mostly pop fans or will declare Wayne the winner simply because he is Wayne.
What people don’t seem to understand is that Jay considers himself above all that. Call him a snob, say he’s a sell-out, say whatever Jay haters say. The fact remains that Jay has set his sights higher than a diss track. As he put it on “What We Talkin’ Bout” on The Blueprint 3, “I don’t run rap no more, I run the map.”
If Jadakiss’ tweets asking to be left out of the recent Jay-Z-Lil Wayne controversy are any indication, MCs still know what’s up with Jay. Those who cite Jay’s loss to Nas in their epic early-aughties battle should be careful about underestimating the skills of Nasir Jones. What’s more, even in defeat, Jay suffered no commercial or critical repercussions regarding his own music.
Jay has made it clear he’s been getting his grown-man on for quite some time now. His two-cents on Beanie Sigel’s angry spouts against him were laid out on “Why I Love You,” the closing track on Watch the Throne. Once again, Jay came off as respectable and superior.
Back to Wayne. His music is selling like hot-cakes, but great SoundScan numbers don’t necessarily equal great–or even good–music. Much of Wayne’s appeal is that he’s youthful, something that obviously doesn”t last forever. Jay has been relevant before Wayne, is relevant now, and will be relevant in some way after Wayne has faded. As far as the threat on Bey, Jay is smart enough to know that Wayne won’t do anything off wax. So, the question shouldn’t be, “What will Jay do?”, but rather, “Why should Jay care?” A good question, indeed.