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Jay Z should use his platform to better hip hop

Not to sound like an old fogey but hits of his such as "99 Problems" may be catchy, but I can't get with all the b-words and other misogynistic lyrics in Jay Z's music.

Jay Z should use his platform to better hip hop

Jay-Z held a press conference with Mayor Michael Nutter on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Monday, May 14, 2012. He will headline the Budweiser "Made In America" festival in Philadelphia Labor Day Weekend. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)
Jay-Z held a press conference with Mayor Michael Nutter on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Monday, May 14, 2012. He will headline the Budweiser "Made In America" festival in Philadelphia Labor Day Weekend. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

At Monday’s press conference announcing Jay Z’s upcoming Budweiser music festival, a fan shouted out, “You’re the best Hov!”

“I agree,” he said.

I don’t. Not to sound like an old fogey but hits of his such as “99 Problems” may be catchy, but I can’t get with all the b-words and other misogynistic lyrics in Jay Z’s music.  It felt bizarre to me to see the performer of such awful songs as “Big Pimpin’” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” standing with Mayor  Nutter acting like some kind of hero.  As I watched, I couldn’t help wondering whether Nutter and the city officials who arranged the photo op had ever stopped and really listened to Jay Z’s lyrics? A big festival coming to Philadelphia may well be an economic generator, but it still amazes me how people can just let all the other stuff go. 

Personally, I haven’t been able to get past it. Yes, I’m curious as to what the other musical acts are going to be included when the event takes place on Labor Day weekend, but I felt like choking on my Diet Coke when I read how Jay Z said that before he takes on a project, he asks himself “’Will it push the culture forward?’”  Forward? I was like, “He didn’t really say that did he?” 

 I’ll admit that I held out a little hope earlier this year when after the birth of daughter Blue Ivy when rumors famously circulated that Jay Z had renounced using the b-word in a poem reportedly written by him. It read, in part, "Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich/I didn’t think hard about using the word b---h…." Much was made of the hip hop music mogul’s so-called change of heart before he ended all the tongue wagging by telling the New York Daily News, “That poem and story are fake.” 

It’s not too late, though. If Jay Z’s really serious about pushing the culture forward instead of backward, he could take advantage of the groundswell of admiration and support he’s enjoying to advocate for some sort of standards or change in hip hop lyrics.

Jay Z who actually gets called “Hova” as in “Jayhova,” the god of rap, could be the one to pull that off. 

Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
About this blog
What’s up, everyone? Welcome. Let's discuss whatever's on our minds - pop culture, relationships, politics, even the latest fashion trend. If you read my Daily News column, you know I like to mix it up: One day, it's the state of hip hop and the next, the latest political race. Also, it's always fun to try to figure out the opposite sex and check the latest trends. It’s all about learning from each other, exchanging ideas and hopefully making some changes for the better. Nothing is off limits - just keep it clean and civil.


Read more from Jenice Armstrong at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green." Reach Jenice at armstrj@phillynews.com.

Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
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