Music is subjective, so a lot of this is a matter of personal opinion. I am a big fan of both Jay-Z (I understand that he dropped the dash, but I’m forever trapped in 1997) and Kanye West, but I think that Jay-Z is better. Now, that could all change someday and a lot of that is due to Jay’s longevity and the expanse of his overall discography. I’ll also acknowledge that if you look at each track that they’ve made individually, Kanye probably has a better overall batting average of hits (good or great songs in comparison to “eh” songs) than Jay does, but again, that’s also largely due to how many songs Jay-Z has made over the past 20+ years.
As an MC, I agree that Jay-Z is better, but I also think Kanye is underrated when it comes to his ability as an MC. Few people doubt Kanye’s talent and I doubt many hip-hop fans would disagree that he’s a nice rapper, but even with all of that I feel like his ability as an MC is often overlooked because of his personality and public image. Still, Jay-Z is one of the best ever, and even if some of his newer songs aren’t setting the world on fire (let’s go ahead and pretend that most of Magna Carta Holy Grail didn’t happen), he’s still at the top of his game as an MC. With both guys, few rappers can even approach them when it comes to content or delivery.
What I like best about Jay-Z and Kanye West is that they are the opposite of Lil’ Wayne in one crucial way. When Weezy drops a new album, I pick it up knowing that there are going to be ten tracks that I delete immediately, one that I play constantly for the next few weeks, and two or three that can go either way but which will usually need a half-dozen plays before I can make a decision on them. With Jay-Z and Kanye, I usually don’t delete anything because if the tracks don’t catch on immediately, I know I’ll soon catch myself repeating a hook or even randomly realizing, “Oh shit, that was a triple entendre!” If quality rap was just about flow, Tech N9ne would be selling records like Lil’ Wayne and if it was just about lyrical content so would Talib Kweli, but the very best, like Kanye and Jay-Z, have the total package. Jay-Z put it even better in Moment of Clarity: “If skills sold, truth be told/I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli/Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense/But I did 5 mil’ — I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”.
That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate some of Lil’ Wayne’s stuff (some…I’m not a huge Weezy fan), Talib Kweli, or Common. In fact, Common is one of my favorite of all-time — I mean, if you only know Common from AMC’s Hell on Wheels (or, tragically, from Just Wright), do yourself a favor and go listen to the last verse from “Soul by the Pound” on Can I Borrow a Dollar?. Anyway, the point being that Jay-Z and Kayne are on a completely different level than almost every other rapper who has ever picked up a microphone, so it’s really difficult to choose between them, especially when I am a big fan of both, but I give Jay-Z the edge while not counting out the fact that Kanye may someday surpass him (but probably not). Most of all, I’m glad they work together so frequently.
Jackie certainly was smart and beautiful, and she was elegance personified. I don’t know why JFK cheated on her. I don’t know why anyone cheats on anyone. Why does Anthony Weiner stray from Huma Abedin, who is WAY out of his league?
I don’t know. And, I am not allowed to judge because I have not always been perfect in relationships in my life. It would be disingenuous of me to pretend otherwise.
All I can say is that we are all imperfect beings and, as Kanye West, has put it: "See I can have me a good girl and still be addicted to them hood rats/And I just blame everything on you, at least you know that’s what I’m good at"
(That’s right, I quoted lyrics from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy while answering a question about Presidents — is anyone really surprised?)
As for cheating, It’s not good. It’s not right. It’s not something we should be proud of. But it’s real-life, whether you’re a President, a rapper, or a guy who writes about Presidents while listening to rappers.
"Ey, hey, yo, we made it to Thanksgiving,
So, hey, maybe we could make it to Christmas.
She asked me what I wished for on my wish list,
Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches?”
I’m sure I’ll miss a few. My favorites were Pusha T’s Fear of God II: Let Us Pray EP, Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne, Royce da 5’9”s Success Is Certain, Bad Meets Evil’s (Royce and Em) Hell: The Sequel, Common’s The Dreamer/The Believer, and Brotha Lynch Hung’s Coathanga Strangla (I’m still a Sactown kid at heart with love for the Garden Blocc crew!).
A few others that I felt were amongst the best: Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, Raekwon’s Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang’s Legendary Weapons, X-Raided’s Unforgiven Volume 3: Vindication (like I said, loyalty to the Blocc), WC’s Revenge of the Barracuda, and Talib Kweli’s Gutter Rainbows. Right now, I’m really looking forward to B.o.B.’s Strange Clouds.