It's Not Like Jigga Needs the Dough.....
I've always liked Jay-Z. He's one of the few mainstream hip-hop artists whose full length albums contain a proportionately larger amount of actual songs to skits, and those songs tend to be quality; featuring top flight producers and rapping from Jay-Z as opposed to the proverbial guest MCs.
That said, he's hardly immune to the massive egotism that often clouds the mind of superstar MCs, causing them to do stupid things. Case in point - his 're-release' of "The Blueprint Volume 2: Tha Blessing and Tha Curse," which was merely the original release (one of his weaker to begin with) minus a bunch of tracks and skits. Why would you expect your fanbase to pay again for the same record with fewer songs? Boggles the mind.
Still, far worse is his recent decision to go toe to toe with Linkin Park in "MTV's Ultimate Mash-Ups;" currently the strongest indicator that this whole 'mash-up' thing has gotten completely out of hand. Even in a current world in which Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" can sit next to Jessica Simpson on "Now That's What I Call Music! #17," the "Numb/Encore" mashup is climbing the charts at an alarming rate; lest anyone thought that Linkin Park were going to be left for dead.
However, Jigga's apparent adoration of easily the most whitebread "metal" band in America is just another occurence of a phenomenon which I could never understand; mainstream rap artists' love of shitty nu-metal bands.
Both Ice Cube and Nas have lent their vocal talents to Korn albums. Method Man has rapped with Limp Bizkit, and DJ Premier has even remixed them. I once read an interview with Wu-Tang's U-God saying how much he "loved those Linkin Park niggas." What gives?
I'm guessing a lot of this has to do with the fact that it's not like Jay, Nas, and Meth have time to go rooting through back issues of Magnet or read Pitchfork to see what some lanky 22-year old white kid has to say about them. Therefore, most of the rock they get exposed to is what's on the radio, or played alongside their videos on the MTV. Who knows. To someone who's known nothing but beats and microphones for their entire lives, maybe adding incompetent raps to heavy guitars does somehow seem kind of revolutionary. Maybe mainstream rappers equate album sales with skills and/or respect. Linkin Park have unquestionably sold a lot of records.
Still, that lets Jigga man off too easily. He once did an unplugged set with The Roots as a backing band for cryin' out loud. He's enough of a talent that he should be able to smell mediocrity a mile away, and now he's spreading himself far too thin (especially for a guy who's supposedly retired from the rap game). Homeboy needs to take a cue from Jurassic 5 and engage in some 'quality control' to assure that this never happens again.