Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jay-Z and the "domestic abuse line"

Ok, here's my take on the "Eat the cake, Anna Mae," line in "Drunk in Love":

At the Grammy performance, Jay-Z and Beyonce proudly pronounced Hov's joke lyric about a domestic violence-related scene in What's Love Got to Do With It. Tina and Ike Turner's relationship, as illustrated in the movie, was abusive, and I am not minimizing the pain Tina went through. But I think the more interesting question here is why so many things that are popular now (Hannah and Adam in "Girls," Twilight, this song), force us to try to differentiate violent abusive sex and violent consensual sex. We love trying to figure out that sick little line.

But more importantly, as for Jay-Z's lyrics, he also references Mike Tyson's ear incident, and in the words of Jake Sweeney-Samuelson, "I don't think we're supposed to assume he does that in bed."

Also, just some FOOD for thought:

Hov's grammatical subjects are vague, and I would guess on purpose. After the Anna Mae lyric, he talks to a plural "y'all," leaving us to wonder who he actually told to eat the cake:

I'm Ike Turner, turn up, baby, no, I don't play
Now eat the cake, Anna Mae said, "Eat the cake, Anna Mae!"
I'm nice, for y'all to reach these heights
You gon' need G3, 4, 5, 6 flights

So JUST SAYIN', this lyric might be a self-referential verse to Jay's lyrics in Drake's "Pound Cake," where Hov transforms the delicious word into a million modern day metaphors. In case you didn't know, "cake" in hip-hop means money:

Cake, cake-cake, cake-cake, cake
500 million, I got a pound cake
Niggas is frontin', that's upside-down cake
Get 'em a red nose, they clown cakes
They shoulda never let you 'round cake
Look at my neck, I got a carrot cake
Now here's the icin' on the cake
Cake, cake-cake, cake-cake, uhh

If this hypothesis is right, Hov would not be talking about shoving his penis violently in Beyonce's face, as we all so keenly inferred. He would, instead, be declaring, "look at how much money I have, bitches!", Anna Mae then serving as a symbol of all the world's haters, and cake serving as a symbol of money - not domestic abuse.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dayenu, Drake: 2013 Special Edition

Drake told CNN in 2010: "Lil Wayne, who is actually responsible for my career has always been a huge influence to me and one of my heroes."

With Weezy's new verse on Mack Wilds' single, "Own It," the feeling seems to be mutual.

Mack Wilds Own It ft. Lil Wayne

The New Orleans rapper performs a complete shoutout to Drake's verse in "Fuckin' Problems," bringing home how iconic Drizzy's verse released just over a year ago has turned out to be.

The shoutout is actually a symbol of something bigger. It's indicative of how Drake's image exploded in 2013. The Canadian-born superstar this year went from "somewhat apologetic but also overcompensating for insufficient rap-world masculinity guy who sings the catchy hooks" to "bonafide rap and hip-hop megastar who somehow learned to make all self-referential jokes before they can be used against him."

2013 was a biggie for Drizzy. The Bar Mitzvahed rapper released his third studio album, "Nothing Was the Same" in September, selling over 1 million copies in 6 weeks, which was 6 weeks faster than "Magna Carta" took to reach a milli.

Drake is also the king of the radio. In a pop music climate that is flooded with heavy club synthesizer beats, he nudged his steamy hot R&B single, "Hold On, We're Going Home," onto the charts.

And he persistently churned out the hits all year. If you are familiar with the Jewish song, "Dayenu," that is sung during the holiday of Passover, you'll know that Drake's accomplishments of 2013 ARE a flood of Dayenu verses.

"Dayenu" is a song about being grateful to God for everything he has given the Jewish people throughout history. It's about how if God had only granted Jews one thing, that one thing would have been enough. But God just kept the gifts coming and coming. You might say this applies to Drake as well.

So here's a gift for everyone - not just for Jews:

"Dayenu, Drake: 2013 Special Edition"

If Drake had brought us "Started from the Bottom" on February 1, and had not released the single to iTunes 5 days later,

Dayenu! It would have been enough!

If Drake had won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album with "Take Care," and had not taken this photo of himself taking a shot out of his trophy,

Dayenu! It would have been enough!

If Drake had sampled Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" on his sexy single, "Girls Love Beyonce," released on April 15, and had not given us this adorably nervous answer when Ellen asked him about his thing with Rihanna,

Dayenu! It would have been enough!

If Drake had announced his "Would You Like a Tour?" tour on June 17, and had not posed with Canadian Mayor Rob Ford like this in September,

Dayenu! It would have been enough!

If an app called "Drake Shake" had been created with Drake's approval, and Drizzy hadn't posted this super-meta photo of himself next to himself using the app,

Dayenu! It would have been enough!

And lastly, if Drake had put his cathartically angry video for "Worst Behaviour" online in December, and had not a few weeks later released a bangin' freestyle over Soulja Boy's "We Made It" track,

We Made It Audio

Dayenu! Dayenu! Dayenu! It all would have been enough! It would have been enough, Drake! But you are a prolific God, and for that, I thank you.

Indeed, 2013 was a great year for Drizzy, and he promises to release more and more music in the next month. As he moves from being prince of hip hop to the king of digestible and melodic rap, it will be interesting to see which artists and samples he takes from for inspiration.

Love you, Drizzy.