Jay-Z’s ‘Open Letter’: A Response

• April 11, 2013 12:50 pm


Dear Shawn C. Carter:

Your new recordOpen Letter, the latest diss track responding to critics (raises hand) who’ve lambasted you and Beyonce for celebrating your fifth wedding anniversary in the communist dictatorship of Cuba, dropped this morning. It’s primed to be parsed by cable television resident hip-hop stans Chris Hayes and Jake Tapper. The anchors will be racing each other to find out who can slobber the most over it. Hayes’s public trysts with musicians and Tapper’s reading of Rap Genius on Biggie lyrics make James Lipton’s legendary mouth breathing look tame.

Here are two bars from the song that we’re bound to hear as bumper music for the next two days:

Would've brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you fuckin' dweeb

Before this poor excuse for a record starts to gain a reputation as anything close to good, let’s remind ourselves that you're the architect of Takeover. A record that ended the career of Mobb Deep. That dropped in 2000, when you were the sensational MC battling it out for rap supremacy.

Iceberg, I hate to break it to you, but Open Letter sounds like an excuse for an over-the-hill spitter to pick fights with people just because that's what he does. Having a public beef with a fellow rapper is good for image. Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, on the other hand, aren’t Nas. They are politicians who represent constituents who have sought sanctuary from an oppressive Castro regime. They have serious and legit concerns over why, of all the glamorous places on the planet, you and your bride picked the home of a despot to celebrate your anniversary.

Even Open Letter‘s producer’s Swizz Beats and Timbaland are losers in this episode. Swizz and Timbo haven’t produced a legitimate U.S. Billboard top-100 hit since 2009. Swizz is better known for being Mr. Alicia Keys, and Timbaland’s recycled beats are largely responsible for Justin Timberlake’s uninspiring comeback.

Why don't you aim your dulled pen at an actual rival? Someone who can actually respond to you through a cypher? Someone like a fellow 43-year-old rapper who shares your first name? Sean ‘Diddy' Combs has been rumored this week to be macking on Kate Upton. D-I-D-D-Y has topped H.O.V.A. for three years straight in being the richest hip-hop artist in the game. Throw some bars at Diddy. Reference Biggie while you’re at it. Tapper no doubt will appreciate it.

Obama said chill, you gonna get me impeached
But you don't need this shit anyway
Chill with me on the beach

Don’t worry too much about that, Shawn Corey. In 2017, you won’t be so lonely.


Rob John