Is it me, or has Shawn Carter become hip-hop’s #1 whipping boy? I guess that’s par for the course when you’re on top of the game, but bitterness seems to surround this cat like no other rap artist before or since.
The latest person to step to Jay-Z with beef is…Hammer. No, that is not a typo. 48 year old Stanley Kirk Burrell, the genie-pants dancing, KFC shilling rapper who dropped the “MC” from his name back in the early Nineties because he was “bigger than hip-hop” has released a song and video called “Better Run Run” which alludes to Jay being a devil worshiper. Apparently Hammer was a little pissed because Jay brought his name up in Kanye West’s “So Appalled”.
Look, I give Hammer props for being a trailblazer in hip-hop. His records set a sample-heavy template that Puff Daddy took all the way to the bank later in the Nineties, but the existence of this song is idiotic for several reasons. First off, one man in his forties going after another man in his forties just looks wrong. Second, Jay didn’t say anything that wasn’t factual. Hammer’s financial problems have been well documented. This reminds me of Busta Rhymes going after Jay a few years back just because Jay had the unmitigated gall to call Busta “animated” on “What More Can I Say?” Third, haven’t there been a shitload of rhymes over the years that have referenced Hammer going broke? Why go after this dude specifically? Sounds incredibly opportunistic on Hammer’s part, and I can’t see Jay being too bothered about the situation. While Jay’s still topping the charts and winning awards fifteen years into his career, Hammer hasn’t had a Top 40 hit since 1994, and copies of “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’em” and “2 Legit 2 Quit” can be found in 99 cent bins in used CD stores all across the country. This situation strikes me as akin to the New Kids on the Block making a diss record about Justin Timberlake. I’ll be kind and just say this situation just kinda speaks for itself.
Looks like R. Kelly is sipping some of that bitter juice as well. The fallen R&B king recently did an interview with XXL magazine in which he said that the 2002 “Best of Both Worlds” album with Jay-Z was originally intended to be done with 2Pac. Personally? I’m not so sure I believe Kelly. After all, ‘Pac died in 1996, six years before the initial “Best” project hit stores. Additionally, back in those days, Kelly was riding heavy with the Bad Boy camp and ‘Pac’s nemesis, The Notorious B.I.G.. The two collaborated for tracks on Kelly’s self-titled 1995 LP as well as B.I.G.’s posthumously released “Life After Death” in ’97. Do you think Kells would have betrayed his boy and done a duets album with Tupac? Do you think ‘Pac would have even bothered to do an album-length collaboration with a favored partner of his nemesis? Sounds to me like Robert is trying to drum up some publicity for his new album (due out in December) since his 2009 effort “Untitled” (which was actually Kelly’s best studio effort in fifteen years) caught a brick.
Finally, it looks like Taylor Swift is gonna have the first album in nearly two years to sell over a million copies in it’s first week with her new “Speak Now” set. I gave it a first listen recently, and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty tuneful. However, something about the set’s first single, “Mine”, had been gnawing at me for at least a month. I kept singing the song over and over in my head, and ultimately what revealed itself to me was a) the song’s a fucking earworm, but more importantly, b) this song sounds quite a bit like not one, but two relatively recent hits. Check it out.
Freaky, right? Now try THIS one out for size!
No, the songs are not identical, and I’m not trying to imply that Taylor consciously plagiarized anyone, but does anyone else hear “Mine” in BOTH of those songs? Just sayin’…
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- sean carter