EntertainmentSnob, PopCulturalist

Jay-Z Catches “Post-Racial” Musical Influenza, Hard-Heads Cry Foul

It’s going around.

From SOHH.com:

Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z has reportedly shared his post-concert thoughts on fused music genres after a performance at the University of Arizona earlier this week alongside Kelly Clarkson and Third Eye Blind.

More after the jump.

Speaking on his overall experience, Jigga also broke down racial barriers found within hip-hop.

“On the show as well were Third Eye Blind and Kelly Clarkson,” Jay explained. “I thought that to be the oddest pairing ever but, soon realized, it’s what I’ve always professed. There is no such thing as black music or white music only good or bad music. It’s stupid cool to like things that are not like you, and that goes for outside of music. If you’re an African American you can have a Jewish friend…I think concerts like this should happen more often…I’m putting that into the universe..next up Taylor Swift and Uncle Murda!!” (Rap Radar)

Awww! Jay wants to cross over to my world where he, Rilo Kiley, Pac, No Doubt, Nirvana, Lady Gaga, Fleetwood Mac, TLC, The Eagles, Oasis, Billie Holiday, Keyshia Cole, T.I., Prince, Johnny Cash and Whitney Houston all live in harmony with David Bowie, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Michael Jackson on my MP3 player.

As it should be.

What’s funny is reading the comments on SOHH from hard heads who saw this quote from Jay-Z as some sort of kiss up to “the white man” or something.

Jay-Z Is A Black Cracker!!!!!
He Been Sold The Fuck Out!!
Ask Dame?? Ask Biggs??
Ask Jaz-O?? Ask Sauce Money??
The List Goes On!!

Most of Jay Lips fans are whites so its no surprise he is saying these, whites may be ur fans but they would never care for or respect hip hop like black folks would do,

Klassy.

I mean, shit. It’s just music and everybody likes music (I hope). Jay can be an inelegant speaker when not spitting rhymes but he’s basically saying, “Hard-asses, there is a world out there outside of your hard ass. Go explore it. Learn something. Build on it. Expand your mind … with some Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.”

I realize that some of you music snobs who are beyond all this musical segregation nonsense are like “Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Jay? Really? Never heard of Ani DiFranco or Fiona Apple or Tori Amos or a far more interesting and talented and fucked up white chick to rock out to? Because I only listen to Liz Phair, Loretta Lynn and Hole’s first album because everything else is fake.”

But … baby steps, ya’ll. Baby steps. The first so-called non-Negro music I ever openly purchased was No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom” after “Don’t Speak” broke down my will to fight the music. (I already loved every single before that ballad hit like a tsunami.) No Doubt, no matter how you feel about them, got me to lighten up, stop caring what other people thought, and rediscover all the music from the 1990s I’d been afraid to get into because I didn’t want my black friends to laugh at me.

So Gwen Stefani got me to take Nirvana seriously. And Liz Phair. And many others. So kudos for Gwen.

Besides, all American music is a hodge-podge of black-and-white smash-up. That’s what makes it so good. I’d argue that Jay is asking folks not to segregate their ears. (And make friends with Jews, which was an odd sentence, but again, I think that was about not being a hard-head, not collecting Jewish people as token white friends.)

But you know how it is. Post-racial cooties will freak people out because it can sometimes sound like you’re wanting to divorce blackness from things until everything is a mush of bland nothingness. But Jay doesn’t want that. Jay wants people to buy more music because buying music keeps Jay knee deep in Bentleys. And at the end of the day, don’t you want Jay to be knee deep in Bentleys?

Don’t you?

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32 thoughts on “Jay-Z Catches “Post-Racial” Musical Influenza, Hard-Heads Cry Foul

  1. I don’t think Hov’s statement was all that inarticulate. It just seems necessary these days, if not always, to spell things out with a myriad of disclaimers and qualifications. People seem at once ever-ready to read the imaginary text between the lines and pounce, yet blind to valid sociological arguments.On my i-pod- you will find representation of multiple genres, and a pretty wide variety of artists from most of them. Music from all continents, many countries, and made by people from a variety of races.That aside, can we please acknowledge hip hop’s history and legacy. In not one, not two, but three college courses, we went over the history of Black music. Yes, Black music. Hip hop has a legacy that goes back to West Africa. Real talk. People with no understanding of the subject will vehemently claim that hip hop was created from a rainbows and unicorns, we are the world, every race represented culture. NO!I’m so tired of people appropriating from other cultures and not even being able to speak truthfully about (an art/music form’s) roots. Yes, some people from other races, past and present were/are a part of hip hop. And? Some white people where kente cloth. Some white people MAKE kente cloth. Yet there is no confusion about it’s origins. Jay Z thinks that people should branch out, make friends with people of other races, listen to music by people of other races, collaborate with people of other races. Cool. I agree.But, please, please, please people, let’s be real and acknowledge that hip hop was born out of Black culture.

  2. Danielle Belton says:

    @ boogaThat’s why I made the "divorcing blackness" statement at the end. You do want to make it clear that it is perfectly fine and natural to discuss the origins of things and the inherent black/African roots of hip hop, not go into that bland mush I talked about. But I don’t think Jay is advocating mush. He’s advocating record sales and diversity in music listening habits. I think it was Jay’s "Jewish friend’ comment that kind of made the statement go off the rails for me because why so specific? It was just really odd and random. He could have said Dutch friend or Italian. Why did he feel the need to point out any ethnicity for this friend at all? It was just an odd way to put "go out and converse with people different from you," which is what I think he actually meant.You know? Unless he just really meant for me to go out and make token Jewish friends … Are my "ordinary" Dutch-Irish, German-Irish and German-Italian American white friends not specialized enough? LOL. Do Jews who are Jewish in name only count? I need to know this, Jay!

  3. @boogaI think you miss the point, and no, the sky is not falling because a bunch of white kids like Hip-Hop. You don’t have to be a Hip-Hop historian to enjoy the music. The point is that Jay-Z, in a very clumsy way, is trying to encourage the black Hip-Hop loving community to branch out musically and socially, and break away from the self induced segregation. At no point does anyone say that Hip-Hop was not born out of black culture. By encouraging people of all races and cultures to embrace Hip-Hop, people who have knowledge of its history and roots will be ambassadors to new fans and help them learn more about the culture, while also learning about other music and cultures. I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to correct people when they spread untruths or stereotypes about a music or a culture, but it’s all about educating people, not trying to protect your music and culture by building a wall around it and only letting a select group of people in to enjoy it. I think it’s great that there are non-black people out there that enjoy black/African culture enough to want to make Kente cloth and wear it — imitation is a great form of flattery.My Jewish friends will be relieved that I’m officially allowed to hang out with them now. Thanks, Jigga.

  4. d says:

    Hee-hee! I love No Doubt–going to see them this summer. Tragic Kingdom was the first CD I ever purchased and they were my gateway drug into heavy metal music. I have (and love) Hole’s first album too. It’s on my "things that don’t make me less black" list. Anyway, I "get" what Jay-Z is trying to do even if the delivery is awkward. I still won’t buy his music, though. I appreciate him validating my Jewish friends. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to keep those friendships secret anymore…

  5. snobfanforeal' says:

    Phair’s ‘Fuck & Run’ is a classic. So is the album. I don’t think you’ll have your black card revoked for pumping ‘Exile in Guyville’. I’m thinking Liz and Alice Walker could trade a few crappy dude tales. Jay”s right about one thing: there is only good music and bad music. It’s when the groups setting the parameters for what’s good get things all twisted that we end up with the late 90’s…all that boy-band foolishness. But kudos to one of your commentators for calling this out for what it is. The next four years will simply not allow anyone to play-up those brutish aspects of black manhood that were the norm pre-Obama. Not. Gonna. Happen. Better start sounding like this…all ebony and Ivory and stuff. Or better yet, get yourself a blue suit and a black puppy if you want to make nice nowadays, cause everybody’s on the ‘change’ tip hard now. (More Jigga, Less N****)What Chris Brown’s foolish ass really allowed everyone to see is the depth and length to which black people simply won’t tolerate the old run of the mill bullshit from black men for the time being. Might change, of course, but the old ways just ain’t working it. Add these to your list of "Not Black, But Genius" stuff (I smell an article…) ‘I Keep Forgetting’ by Michael McDonald. Oh, and Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer.’I’m sure there’s more….

  6. dukedraven says:

    I’m a black person who grew up listening to AM radio in the 60s and 70s, when music was more integrated. James Brown, The Temptations, Sly and Family Stone were played alongside of The Beatles, Elvis and the Rolling Stones. Plus, when I moved out of the inner city and into the suburbs, I was exposed to Rock and Roll even more. It’s a natural part of my life and I don’t think about it until someone brings it to my attention.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with Jay’s idea of branching out beyond our comfort zones in music. The "hard core" hip hop fans that I’ve personally encountered cry blasphemy either because they’re still mad about "The Man" taking their music and/or they’re still reminiscing to when Hip Hop (capitalized) was in its glory days circa….birth. They’re gripes are misdirected. The Jay-ster is NOT the sellout for saying "broaden your horizons people". If we wanna slap a SOLD sticker on someone/something, the current state Hip Hop itself would be my first target, and it wouldn’t be for recognizing the non-black audience and growing into it. It would be for taking the non-black audience’s idea of what black is (almost never positive) and reinforcing it to them and us. All this whilst some artists still try to sell the idea that they’re simply "telling the news" of the black community. If that’s the case, I’ll go to Fox for more credible news.

  8. Jiovanni says:

    I have no shame to my game. *NSYNC was the group that helped me branch out to other styles of music. R&B will always be my favorite genre but I do enjoy rock, pop, alternative and a little country too. I’ve become way more open-minded when it comes to music. And I want to branch my horizons even further with world music as well. So I feel Jay on this one even if it did come out a little awkward.

  9. Addendum: I’m not downing anyone who simply wants the truth be told about the origins and impact African & black cultre has on music. I also think its important to be truthful about the history and roots of music. In this day and age of information and technology, its up to individuals to learn that for themselves. We can ring the alarm (no pun intended) all we want about giving credit where its due, but it takes a willingness from the receiver to absorb it.I am one of those nostalgic Hip Hop fans (at the ripe old age of 23, lol) who can jam to the Pharcyde and Black Sheep and the like. As much I wish I could’ve been there, I’ve got to play with the cards I’m dealt. Good music knows no race/ethnicity. Thats what genre’s were concocted for. Leave the filters to the industry and iTunes for easier shopping, and let your ears take it all in.

  10. politicallyincorrect says:

    Most black people don’t like one kind of music. Just b/c some of you have ghetto friends who really didn’t like you for you doesn’t mean that all black people were like that. Doesn’t Jay know black kids already branched out and left hip hop, most of the buyers are white kids and black kids under 16. Just b/c he waited until he was 40 to realize this doesn’t mean the rest of us did.

  11. politicallyincorrect says:

    And instead of telling someone to go out and buy a Taylor Swift album, why don’t he say go out and buy an Alice Smith, the Noisettes or a J Davey album. Why did he give Santogold a small part in Brooklyn we go hard, why not focussupport on a black artist who has already broken out of the boxes they put black artists in.

  12. I don’t necessarily disagree with Jay, but I think a large part of the resentment comes from the fact that whenever a black artist at his level of visibility speaks on these matters, they are still pretty much only acknowledging manistream/Pop acts, regardless of genre. Acts like Kelly Clarkson and 3rd Eye are well-known. I don’t subscribe to the idea that including these artists in your rotation is all that expansive. There’s a host of Black artists (again, regardless of genre) that continue to go overlooked. When established artists like Jay and Kanye throw out names like these, they typically ignore the BASE that got them to where they are. Think of all the Hip Hop, Soul and Alternative artists that still don’t receive that much attention. When these established acts acknowledge other genres and only focus on big names, it CAN feel/seem like a sell-out move. Almost as if they are capitulating to a greater, more porfitable/recognizable majority.There are a lot of folks that will say they are bored with Hip Hop and R&B because the ONLY Hip Hop and R&B they choose to entertain is the radio-friendly stuff. There’s still room for broadening your horizons within that lane.

  13. d says:

    Two words: Beastie Boys. They are more hip-hop than rap but they’ve been doing it for sooo looong. I mean for crying out loud, they had a cameo in Krush Groove!

  14. Danielle Belton says:

    @ politically incorrectI’m just gonna say it — maybe Jay’s musical tastes aren’t that deep. Maybe American Idol rejects/former winners are as far as he goes. He’s "technically" pop himself at this point. He’s mainstream. Of course he would give other established acts a shout. I’d be shocked if he had a clue who Alice Smith is. I don’t think he respects an artist unless they can sell a minimum of 250,000 units.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Just exactly who do they think buys 70-75% of Hip Hop music?Not Black Kids. They’re just the collateral damage in the Modern Day Minstrel Show.

  16. BluTopaz says:

    Guess this is really is a post racial world, we can now say stuff like ‘i have a white/jewish/irish friend that i care for as much as my black friends (barf)Aside from that foolishness I don’t know about the cross marketing of concerts for different types of artists. Like a lot of people my music tastes are all over the map. But I imagine an eclectic roster of artists wouild be a marketing nightmare. I love my diverse playlists but I don’t want to go to a concert tour with Chemical Brothers/Erykah Badu/Tamar Kali etc. I don’t think what Jay Z is talking about is so much eclectic as it is marketing to the ADD approach that has prevailed with all forms of entertainment.

  17. Umm, is Hova just discovering that black people are allowed to have diverse musical tastes? Nothing new about it. I’m a huge No Doubt fan, mostly because they play a pop hybrid of ska and have reggae undertones that float throught much of their sound. (Check Lady Saw in Underneath it All and where do you think Gwen got Kingston and Nesta for her sons names?) There’s a lot of mixing and barrier diving going on, you just have to be aware of it.

  18. Sierra says:

    Please…. Jay’s just trying to keep up with the rest of us "enlightened" ones while making it look like he’s starting a trend. The guy played Glastonbury but all he can tell me about is Kelly Clarkson…. not impressed. I have never contributed to his Bentley fund and don’t plan to but I will keep listening to a wide variety of artists who are more mature musically.

  19. Eh, there is something seemingly disingenuous about Mr Carter, his statement and his motives to me. Perhaps it is just that I do not find the man to be all that intelligent or deep. Perhaps because he spent so much of his career cultivating and supporting an image that has been utilized via hip pop culture to create the very negative, narrow, limiting definition of blackness, black music, black culture that he is now purporting to have transcended. Growing up it always seemed to me those trying to live what they thought was the ‘thug life’, keeping it real bs, or at least perpetrating that image were the same one’s talking about real black people don’t listen to x, black people don’t do y, blah, blah, blah… If he’s trying to sound enlightened, he failed.I also find ‘post-racialism’ to be a joke. A reassuring meme for the lazy who cling to an uncomplicated and non-complex perception (or goal for) people and societies.I totally agree with some of those commenting above; where has Mr Carter been that he is almost forty and this is a revelation to him? There have been not only people listening to whatever they like regardless of race for decades, but also people producing, writing, performing, singing and playing whatever it is that gets them going regardless of acceptance by the mainstream. Carter’s own career is dependent on his popularity amongst young non-black customers. My father grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors. His grandfather loooved him some Elvis, and my mom’s dad never missed Hee-Haw and the Lawrence Welk Show. Even staying within the parameters of music made by black people there is SO much diversity (throughout the diaspora, but traditional African American) that goes past this Top 40 crap pushed in the mainstream making Carter’s statement that much lamer; naming acts played ad nauseum on the same bland corporate stations that give him play doesn’t indicate musical diversity or expanding one’s horizons in the least bit.But I am delighted to know I can now have non-black friends. I will start a collection and each will be labeled according to their background ("Jewish friends" smh) to prove to people how forward-thinking I am.as I said; smart businessmen, not too deep otherwise

  20. The A says:

    Can I please be the first to say OMG, Some of my Very Best friends are Jewish people?!!Music lovers have always loved music.Jay-z is a 40-somethin that is JUST NOW thinking about something better than drug dealin & poppin tags. Rock boys in the building indeed. I guess if I were an ignorant 13yr old fan, I may think he was speaking gospel. I think the hard heads are right in that J Z is a dollar-chasing sell out. He must have some rock groups he wants on the next palooza.

  21. Danielle Belton says:

    @ The AWell, of course Jay is thinkin’ dollars! He needs MORE Bentleys! To be honest, some of this is probably Kanye’s fault, as Kanye has proudly boasted about his voracious music tastes and probably lent some of the lazier portions of it to his former benefactor. But rather than going for something, ahem, a little further off the map he went right for the Taylor Swift/Nickleback demographic because that’s where he feels comfortable. I mean, if he could go this many years not acknowledging the existence of rappers like Jean Grae and Princess Superstar (who I lurve), or indie rock acts like Head Automatica or Belle and Sebastian he’s going to continue to be musically illiterate.

  22. dkan71 says:

    It’s amazing that in 2009, Jay Z is taking gruff for the idea that Black people can, should and do listen to "non-black" music. As for hip-hop hybridization, I thought Run DMC and Aerosmith knocked down that wall two decades ago with "Walk This Way." Anyone who hasn’t heard the Jay-Z/Linkin Park mash-up album, Collision Course is also severely missing out.That said, I’m delighted that the Snob loves Liz Phair. As Snobfanforeal said, you’ll never have to apologize for loving as classic an album as Exile in Guyville.

  23. Natalie Graham says:

    No doubt’s music just sounds like a poppy watery down version of ska to me… so I dunno…. I still love them; but calling certain music white, black or associated to certain types of groups sounds silly to me. They all influence each other, and when I say all I mean all. When I first heard punk music (of the 80’s) I was like some deranged man in an english accent is screaming reggae and adding a noisy guitar; rock and roll: blues + country music-everyone seems to forget Elvis didn’t orgnailly sing "Hound dog" it was called a race-record, not rockn roll when a black man sung it.SO come on world- stop labeling music as if music fits into a certain genre and a certain image. When ever someone says they only like one type of music to me (whether hiphop, rnb, rock, soul etc) I sort of become wary of them; it says alot about them and how narrow their horizons are (generally).

  24. Sabrina says:

    I know I am coming to this late but I want to weigh in.As someone who has observed the birth and growth of hip hop for the past 30+ years I must say there are a few things that were never missing…the influence of jazz, the influence of rock and the influence of alternative music as well as soul beat thanks to James Brown.Whether it was ‘Rock Box’ with its guitar licks and ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ with a hard driving bass or ‘Scenario’ and ‘Award Tour’ and The Tribes smooth jazz vibe and then finally ‘Planet Rock’ and ‘Paid in Full’ both of which can brag a direct influence to dance/alternative music it is not surprising that non-whites would be drawn to our music (Hip Hop). I distinctly recall one blond-haired, blue-eyed and polo shirted American Bandstand guest declaring "Rap music is just a phase" after Dick Clark had played Kurtis Blow’s ‘Basketball’ (if I am recalling correctly). No matter the song, I vehemently took offense. Even at the tender age of 11, I understood that his dismissal of this music was because it was perceived as "Black Music". Now those were not my exact thoughts but my emotions were still the same. "How dare you dis’ this music!" I distinctly remember yelling at the screen, "No it’s not! Rap is here to stay!!" I wish I knew where that clown is now. I imagine he’s 55 years old living in Cali and is oblivious to the greatness that is hip hop. Or perhaps he has reluctantly been sucked into its vortex by such recent greats as Kanye, Eminem and Lil Wayne who have ‘crossed-over.’My love-hate relationship with rap/hip hop only centers on the relentless images of popping Cristal, rolling on 22’s (or is it 26’s now?) and the obvious Misogyny. I almost don’t care about that anymore. I am more prone to grow bored with the same images being shown over and over again in the videos. Jay Z, I think is making an observation (yes with $$$ on the brain) but also from the same POV I have. For many decades hip hop, rap, whatever you want to call it has been forced to play in its own yard and follow its own rules because the music industry could not make up its mind on what to do with ‘it’; the same way certain people don’t know what to do with ariticulate black people or people of color for that matter. The music industry may not have known but the fan base did and it had to eventually catch up.Jay Z has grown up like me to see that hip hop is finalliy getting its due becoming mainstream and not relegated to a black show with only black artist and black radio. I appreciate his honesty because he grew up like me with hip hop from its infancy. I remember a time when you could only hear real hip hop very late Saturday @ midnight. I would sneek and listen to WHBI out of Newark, N.J. Mr Magic would play for 2 or 3 hours and I’d have my fix until the following week. Today rap is played around the world and you will hear it on popular radio as well as urban. Hip hop is like family. You love it but sometimes you wonder how come you keep letting it come over for dinner…

  25. Sarah says:

    American music equals black music. When listen to pop or rock I’ve always felt like I was just listening to a genre that was an extension of what my forefathers/mothers put forth in the blues, gospel and jazz. All popular American music is built on the foundation of those 3 genres…and those 3 genres were invented by black people…so therefore all American music is black to me…even if the artists are predominately white or other black folks don’t see it that way…it’s still black music to me.

  26. TBI says:

    Jigga’s a little late w/ that newsflash as it pertains to me (about 18 years too late). Hell, I started branching out heavily at the beginning of the Shiny Suit Era of Hip Hop.No Doubt’s "Tragic Kingdom" was the first so-called "white" album I’d ever purchased also; I heard the bass line on "Spiderwebs" and I had to buy the album. It’s not the first Non-negro album I had ever received though, that would have to be Nirvana’s "Nevermind".

  27. tara111 says:

    The year, 1987. The place ,The Jordan Down projects in Los Angeles, Ca. The radio station, Rick Dee’s in the morning. The song, "Welcome to the jungle" by Guns n’ Roses. I watched MTV that day to see who that singer and great guitarist was; it was Axl and Slash (Izzy, Steven, and Duff too!). They were a raucous bunch, but i loved their music. My dad was a James Brown, Motown soul brother but i noticed he was diggin’ all kinds of music. Walk through our door, and you were just as likely to hear Fleetwood Mac as you were the Isley Brother’s ! So Hova, I appreciate the sentiment, but you are indeed late with this one.I’ve never felt like I wasn’t free to love whatever music, wherever. I truly love some of all of it with just the tiniest sprinkling of country though.

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