Friday releases have become customary for hip-hop’s album dumps but today (Friday, Nov 30th) was one for the books.
Just for a brief snapshot: there was Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs, which has been long awaited since his last album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, was released in 2015. Kodak Black continued his momentum after being released from prison with the single “Calling My Spirit,” Lil Baby dropped his second studio album, Street Gossip, Big K.R.I.T., dropped a surprise album, Double Down, and Chance The Rapper returned with the single. “The Man Who.”
We’re talking household names that have already made an impact on the game, all in one night. But throughout all the noise and ooh’s and ahh’s, one verse cut clear through and stood alone: Jay-Z’s feature on Meek Mill’s single, “What’s Free”.
What’s Free https://t.co/9afzboICHR
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) November 30, 2018
Now, for too many reasons that one the internet lost their collective minds. Anytime Jay-Z raps it’s an event, he arguably pulled off the verse of the year but weeks removed from the last day of December and, apparently, he dissed Kanye?
This was the line everybody went crazy over:
“No red hat, don’t Michael and Prince me and Ye //
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince’s DNA //
I ain’t one of those house (expletives) you bought //
My house like a resort, my house bigger than yours,”
Jay Z diss to Kanye sum serious!
— 4PF! (@jalxn4) November 30, 2018
Been waiting for the day Jay Z would diss Ye. Today is a good day
— Justin Wilson (@just_in_life) November 30, 2018
To be fair, ever since Jay-Z and Beyonce didn’t attend Kanye and Kim’s wedding in 2014, their relationship hasn’t been quite the same but the duo, who have countless classics together under their belt, clearly started to go in a different direction after Ye’s public rants during 2016’s Saint Pablo tour where Ye said,
“Don’t call me after the robbery and say ‘how you feelin?’ You wanna know how I’m feelin? Come by the house,” he tells a packed crowd at his Seattle concert. “Bring the kids by the house. Like we’re brothers. Let’s sit down.”
If anyone knows the Carter’s, you know they move discreetly, so you can imagine why the tie was severed at this point.
Kanye’s decision to dive into politics didn’t help his case either. Between championing Trump, wearing the MAGA hat, saying slavery was a “choice” and going to the White House, we all could see there was clear contrast in paths between him and Hov, especially given how Jay has been socially active on the other side of Kanye’s political sphere — fighting for prison reform and even going back and forth with 45 himself.
Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2018
He even gave some bars on his 2017 Grammy-nominated studio album 4:44:
“I know people backstab you, I felt that too //
But this fuck everybody attitude ain’t natural //
But you ain’t the same, this ain’t Kumba Ye //
But you got hurt because you did cool by Ye //
You give him $20 million without blinking //
He gave you 20 minutes onstage, fuck what was he thinking? //
‘Fuck wrong with everybody?’ is what you saying //
But if everyone is crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”
Why, now, wouldn’t that be aimed at Kanye on Meek’s album?
However, like much of Jay’s bars, there’s more than meets the eyes. After catching wind of the debate over the Ye diss, Jay decided to log on to twitter to clarify it himself.
The line clearly meant don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are (red hat) now go pick up Meek album . Drake and Meek on there together .
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) November 30, 2018
Leave it to Jay-Z for everyone to run off with the meaning of a bar that was the polar opposite of it’s intended meaning. But the bar was brilliant, really.
Instead of doing what the WorldStar enthusiasts, instigators, and President Trump want, Jay-Z decided not to bash his long-time friend. In the example used in the verse, Jay- Z actually thinks it’s counterproductive to feud with his comparably influential peer unlike Michael Jackson and Prince in the 80’s and 90’s.
Jay, who on 4:44 talked about Black prosperity and had songs like “Family Feud,” is living out those principals with this move and it’s really a power play and message to the hip-hop community about unification. Meek’s Championshipsfeatureatures a verse from the Drake.
Meek’s album is an ode to making it through trials and systems placed in front of us to victory. He talks about his battle with the courts and his freedom, the need for community and what triumph for him looks like.
Jay’s verse wasn’t a diss at Ye but rather a call for strength in numbers. Ye even commented on Jay’s explanation suggesting Throne 2 album. Hov took the high road with Ye, only time will tell if the poeple will too.