Former Roc-A-Fella Records rapper Memphis Bleek recently offered his take on what has fueled longtime friend/music mentor Jay-Z‘s strive for dominance in the music industry.
According to Bleek, Young Hov’s knack for reaching success on a regular basis has contributed to his cool, calm and collective demeanor.
The rapper Memphis Bleek, who has known Jay-Z since Bleek himself was 14, confirms this impression: “He had a sense of calm way before music. This was Jay’s plan from day one: to take over. I guess that’s why he smiles and is so calm, ’cause he did exactly what he planned in the ’90s.” And now, by virtue of being 42 and not dead, he can claim his own unique selling proposition: he’s an artist as old as his art form. The two have grown up together. (New York Times)
Earlier this summer, Jigga said he attributes any achievements to bettering the state of hip-hop.
On his 2009 single “On to the Next One,” Jigga bragged that he had President Obama “on the text.” Still, the man who once battled DMX while standing on top of a pool table is not desensitized. “I’m a fan of the journey as well,” he said. This fall, he will officially welcome an NBA franchise to his native Brooklyn as a minority owner of the Nets and curate and headline his first two-day music festival in Philly. Still, Jay doesn’t see his wins as just solo victories. Each win he notches adds to hip-hop’s growth. It’s a “we” thing. “I see myself as part of the collective of hip-hop. I don’t see myself as a thing that operates outside of it,” he said. “So when I do these sort of things, I’m like, ‘Man, we’ve come a long way.'” (MTV)
Last year, Hov gave his opinion on why peers look down on his accomplishments.
“It may sound arrogant,” he says, “but I just think people can’t handle when somebody is successful. Something has gotta be wrong: you gotta be down with some higher power. And I guess when someone else is successful, it makes you feel like maybe you’re a failure. So it can’t be you, it has to be some other force.” (Sky)
Back in 2010, rap mogul Rakim said hip-hop artists needed to measure themselves to Hov’s list of achievements.
“I think as far as records, business, if it’s clothing, Jay-Z man,” Rakim said in an interview about his current favorite rapper. “We gotta start respecting those that’s making a large footprint in the game and when you look at what Jay-Z’s doing from his records to his business moves to his clothing to bong bong to his bong bong, that’s the measuring stick right now for all of the young brothers coming up. Don’t do what he’s doing, do as he’s doing and as you learn what made him successful. Don’t follow his footsteps but figure out what made him successful and get that paper y’all.” (Blok TV)