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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Top 5 Most Jay-Z’s Controversial Moments


There have been multiple instances in Jay-Z’s career where he has made headlines for the wrong reasons, either with fans, other rappers, in-laws, or even his wife.

Below, we’ve listed out the top five most controversial moments Hov has endured, ranking them from least significant to most.

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5. NFL-Roc Nation Deal

In 2016, NFL star quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the playing of the National Anthem before one of his games, in an attempt to bring awareness to police brutality against Black people. This caused many football fans, and Americans in general, to push back against Kaepernick. Due to his polarizing status in the league, teams were hesitant to sign him to their roster, essentially leaving him blackballed from professional football.

During this, Jay-Z and many other Black celebrities stood up for Kaepernick and endorsed his cause. In fact, during his 2017 Saturday Night Live performance, the rapper donned a Kaepernick jersey to voice his support.

However, just a year later, Jay-Z appeared to turn his back on Kaepernick, as his Roc Nation company signed a deal with the NFL in 2018. With this partnership, Roc Nation not only had a major say in who would perform at the annual Super Bowl Halftime show but would also aid in launching the Inspire Change campaign. Per the NFL’s website, this campaign seeks to “drive further progress in police-community relations, criminal justice reform, education, and economic advancement.”

But, Jay-Z still caught flack for crossing the metaphorical picket line and collaborating with the NFL. He addressed these concerns in an interview with the New York Times in 2020.

“No one is saying (Kaepernick) hasn’t been done wrong. He was done wrong,” he said. “I would understand if it was three months ago. But it was three years ago and someone needs to say, ‘What do we do now — because people are still dying?’”

4. “Takeover”

In the mid-1990s, Jay-Z and Nas were two of the most prominent hip-hop acts coming out of New York. However, a subtle discontent between the two eventually boiled over into a full-on beef.

It all began when Nas skipped out on a studio session for Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt. Then, when Nas released his own album that year, It Was Written, he appeared to verbally jab at Jay-Z on the song “The Message.”

20 G bets I’m winnin’ ’em, threats I’m sendin’ ’em

Lex with TV sets the minimum, ill sex adrenaline

Nas explained this lyric in a 2016 interview with Complex.

“I saw Jay-Z driving a Lexus with the TVs in it. I got rid of my Lexus at that point and I was looking for the next best thing,” he said “So that line—Lex with TV sets, the minimum—wasn’t a shot at Jay but he inspired that line.”

Jay-Z wouldn’t respond to this for another five years, crafting the song “Takeover” for his sixth album The Blueprint (2001).

Trust me on this one, I’ll detach you

Mind from spirit, body from soul

They’ll have to hold a mass, put your body in a hole

No, you’re not on my level, get your brakes tweaked

I sold what your whole album sold in my first week

You guys don’t want it with Hov

Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov, no.

Nas would put out a diss track of his own just a few months later titled “Ether.” Overall, the moment was one of the greatest back-and-forths among legendary rappers.

[RELATED: Top 5 Jay-Z and Kanye West Collaborations Ranked]

3. 1999 Stabbing

Just weeks before Jay-Z was set to release his fourth album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter in 1999, he ran into a bit of trouble at the album release party for fellow New Yorker Q-Tip’s Amplified. Also in attendance was a man named Lance “Un” Rivera, CEO of the record label Untertainment, which was founded by The Notorious B.I.G.

Word on the street was that Rivera was helping sell bootlegged copies of Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, and while at the party, Jay-Z caught a friend of Rivera’s red-handed with an illegal copy of the album. So a fight ensued and during it, Jay stabbed Rivera with a knife.

Jay would soon be arrested and charged with second-degree assault. However, after facing 15 years in prison, he entered a guilty plea and got off with three years of probation instead. He would later address the altercation on “Kill Jay-Z,” the intro track from his 2017 album 4:44.

Crazy how life works

You got a knot in your chest, imagine how a knife hurts

You stabbed Un over some records

Your excuse was “He was talkin’ too reckless!”

2. Solange

After the 2014 Met Gala, which he attended with his wife Beyoncé and his fellow musician/sister-in-law Solange, Jay-Z stepped into a now-infamous elevator cab at The Standard Highline Hotel in New York City. Caught on security cameras, Solange began hitting and kicking the rapper inexplicably. TMZ would later obtain the footage, causing a viral sensation.

Though none of the three artists in the elevator ever confirmed the reason for the attack, many believe it had something to do with Jay potentially cheating on Beyoncé. He would eventually broach the subject on “Kill Jay-Z,” just after rapping about the aforementioned Rivera assault.

Let go your ego over your right shoulder

Your left is sayin’, “Finish your breakfast!”

You egged Solange on

Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong

You almost went Eric Benét

Let the baddest girl in the world get away

I don’t even know what else to say

N***a, never go Eric Benét!

1. LEMONADE/4:44

Adding more fuel to the infidelity fire, Beyoncé would use most of her 2016 studio album LEMONADE to address the rumors of Jay being adulterous. Practically confirming everyone’s suspicions, Bey used the LP as a catharsis by singing about all of her emotions surrounding her marriage, particularly on the third promotional single “Hold Up.”

Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you

Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you

Can’t you see there’s no other man above you?

What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you

Jay would eventually respond to these accusations on the title track of 4:44 the next year. Instead of denying the cheating claims, though, the Brooklyn MC instead took full responsibility for his missteps.

And if my children knew

I don’t even know what I would do

If they ain’t look at me the same

I would prob’ly die with all the shame

“You did what with who?”

What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?

“You risked that for Blue?”

Later on, the song’s producer No I.D. explained to Rolling Stone how he was able to evoke such a response from Jay-Z.

“That whole piece of music was created with me knowing: I’m going to make you say it on this song, and this song will be the only song you need to say it on so it wouldn’t turn into a full LEMONADE response album,” he said. “I boxed all of those parts in and said, here, what are you going do with this?”

1 comment:

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