(BALTIMORE – July 3, 2017) – I am 52 years of age. This means that “Rapper’s Delight” was the first song of the new genre known as Hip hop to rock my ‘hood, as well as the nation. Thus, I am hardly an expert on the scene today. What I can bring to the table, I pray, is some basic common sense.
Today, I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to dialogue with some younger adults in their 30s. The topic was “444”, the new album by rap mogul Jay Z. The discussion also touched on the content that is seemingly dominating the airwaves, including a heavy push on prescription and illegal drug use in certain rap lyrics. We even touched on the psyche of an artist who is out here these days trying to make it in an industry that seems to reward the most gutter of lyrical expression.
Do peep the video from our Facebook LIVE page. I learned so much. I think the most salient point made was that Jay Z has taken a chance … on himself and his ability to deliver fans. In short, by releasing “444” through his own label, Tidal, and by joining forces with one of the largest cell phone service providers, Sprint, to do so, “Jigga” Man has quite possibly changed the game.
From my little perch, he has at least made a statement. I personally think that message is loud and it is clear: Own your masters on your own material. And then, after you own it, sell it like never before.
In order to hear the song, one must be a previous subscriber to Tidal. The other option is to change your cell phone service provider to Sprint. If it is successful, and I do hope it is, “Hov” will have done what countless black artists from the past failed to do: Control their own musical product.
In a day where piracy is at an all time high and record companies are like piranhas, Jay Z is demonstrating how to control one’s musical product from start to finish. This way, at least that’s what I’m thinking, he gets his off the top.
Anything that comes after this initial release is not the primary target.
Granted, I am no music expert or master at business. However, anybody can see that at minimum, Jay Z has not only exhibited his personal growth as a human being, but he has also displayed how to effectively do business in America.
This being so, Jay Z has earned the respect of the world.
I do not have Sprint. I did, if I’m not mistaken, subscribe to Tidal some time ago. In any event, I wish nothing but success for this “444” album. And, special thanks to Stephen Wise of Stephen Wise Atelier, located at 216 N. Paca Street. Today, Wise hosted some friends for a Listening Party.
At minimum, I was honored to be there and be a part of a masterful discussion on an otherwise pertinent topic: How to do business in 21st century America.
Let me add that the concept of supporting black businesses came up. The group was reminded that black businesses must be on par with the rest of American. If we, as black business owners, want the support of the community, then we must deliver a superior product.
It may not be fair. It is certainly unfortunate. Yet, black businesses must come correct. Furthermore, black consumers must help black businesses survive. Just like the Jews quite often will replace one with another when their service is not up to speed, yet all the while keeping it in the Jewish circle – so, too, must blacks.
And, special thanks to Stephen Wise of SWB ATELIER, located at 216 N. Paca Street. Today, Wise hosted some friends for a Listening & Conversation Party.
According to Wise, “The purpose of this, beyond just listening to the album, was to see what we could extract from the methodically-placed content in the ‘444’ album such that we can cause a real shift in the black community on our end.”
Wise told Bmorenews, “This Jay Z album is much like messages from motivational speakers, advisors, sages, and various other outlets to cause and evoke change. However, if you don’t apply it, it’s just some words over a beat: nothing more. It’s what we do with it that counts, not what we talk about.”
Participants in Discussion included:
*Javon Singleton, Bailsbondsmen, promoter, recording artist