Jay Z Bad Mouths Spotify, Honors B.B. King During Tidal X: B-Sides Concert at …

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jay Z Bashes Spotify, Praises B.B. King at B-Sides Concert.

Jay Z held the first of his two Tidal X: B-Sides shows Saturday night at New York’s Terminal 5, and in addition to a setlist stocked with never-before-performed-live fan favorites and forgotten deep cuts, the rapper also used the gig as a pulpit to attack Spotify and pay tribute to B.B.Jay Z filled the rafters of New York’s 3,000-capacity Terminal 5, one of the smallest venues the stadium-frequenting rapper has played in years, to dip into his 20-year catalog for “Tidal X: Jay Z B-Sides” on Saturday, May 16.Just in case you could’ve possibly thought otherwise, Jay Z sent out a reminder last night that he’ll continue to rep his streaming service Tidal with the frequency and aggression of sneezes during allergy season.

But even Hov himself knew the thought on the minds of even his most loyal fans: Was Tidal just a scheme to make rich artists like himself and 15 of his fellow superstars richer? The rap mogul put on a private concert last night for Tidal subscribers at Terminal 5 in New York City, and he took a few minutes near the start of the show to thrown down a freestyle. Subscribers made up most of the 3000-strong crowd and to gain entry, they were required to submit a playlist of the rapper’s B-sides and rarities, helping him pick out what to play. During a mid-performance freestyle, Jay Z the mogul took aim at his streaming competitors like Google’s YouTube and Apple. “Jimmy Iovine offered a safety net / Google dangled around a crazy check / I feel like YouTube was the biggest culprit / Them niggas pay you a tenth of what you supposed to get,” the rapper said off the cuff about streaming royalties (via the Verge). “You know I came to this game independent, right?

Though he recently addressed his critics at an April 2 NYU talk and in a recent series of tweets hashtagged #TIDALFACTS, Jay expanded his thoughts in a mini-speech that soon turned into a full-fledged freestyle. “I’m never gonna go with the flow, I’m never gonna let nobody take over our music,” Jay Z began. “I see shit that maybe you don’t so that the people out there can get it tomorrow. That’s true / Tidal, my own label, same difference / Oh, niggas are skeptical if its their own shit / You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich / Phil Knight worth trillions, you still bought those kicks / Spotify is nine billion and they ain’t say shit.” Jay Z saved his sharpest barbs for his main streaming adversary Spotify, who the rapper previously accused of “spending millions on a smear campaign” against his new service. “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do / The only one they hatin’ on looks the same as you,” Jay Z said. “It’s cool, I know they’re trying to bamboozle you / Spending millions on me to try to confuse you / I had to talk to myself, ‘Hov, you’re used to it’ / It’s politics as usual.” Jay Z and his band then launched into the first live rendition of Reasonable Doubt’s “Politics as Usual” in nearly a decade. Hits were largely avoided, and hardcore fans inside the sweaty venue (plus those watching on TIDAL’s live stream) reveled in hearing lesser-known material such as the funky “Streets is Watching,” and getting refresher courses in the drug underworld through “Friend or Foe.” “I’ve been wanting to do this concert for 17 years,” exclaimed Jay, with the excitement of a kid with a new toy. The B-Sides gig also featured rare performances of tracks that spanned his entire catalog, from Reasonable Doubt’s “D’evils” and American Gangster’s “Party Life” to The Blueprint’s Kanye West-produced “Never Change” and The Hits Collection bonus cut “Young, Gifted and Black.” Over the course of the two-hour concert, which streamed live exclusively on Tidal, the rapper was also joined by special guests Jay Electronica, Jeezy, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Just Blaze. Throwing back to his collaborative album “The Dynasty: Roc la Familia” from 2000, Jay invited clutch of his old Roc-A-Fella Records cohorts onstage, including Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Young Gunz, Jay Electronica and more.

Even with this bevy of barely played songs, Brooklyn’s finest performed them with the kind of swagger and confidence that made it seem like it was something he did all the time. But the nostalgia came with a forward-looking context and a commitment to music’s future, which Jay underlined with a brand new TIDAL freestyle rap. Mid-set, Jay staged a Roc-A-Fella / State Property reunion with Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Young Gunz and Freeway, helping stoke a few fires over claims that former Roc-A-Fella exec Damon Dash still owes Segal and other artists millions, which Jay famously addressed with a shot in Drake’s “Pound Cake” in 2013 (“Ye made millions, Just made millions / Lyor made millions, Cam made millions / Beans a’tell you if he wasn’t in his feelings.”) But that wasn’t the only Roc-A reunion of the night.

Not only was Young Guru manning the decks as DJ throughout the night, Just Blaze and Jay Electronica came out for a pair of deep collabs with Electronica (“Exhibit C” and a remix of Soulja Boy’s “We Made It”), while Young Jeezy took the stage for two of his own tracks, “Go Crazy” and “Who Dat.” Though hip-hop pervaded the night, Jay Z made sure the crowd knew the significance of having a live band play with him all night, and paid homage to the late B.B. King by requesting a moment of silence before he played a sample of King’s biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone.” “We just lost a legend, as you see me playing hip-hop, we playing rock, we playing blues. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

Saturday’s concert was a one such incentive, but despite the entertaining battle cry, TIDAL still has a long and arduous fight for acceptance (let alone dominance) ahead. There were also mini-tributes to The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, whose legendary solo on “The Star Spangled Banner” Jay’s guitarist recreated to much reverence. “The first black national anthem,” Jay called Hendrix’s performance, before not-so-humbly introducing The Black Album’s “Public Service Announcement” as “the next black national anthem” as the crowd chanted its intro for him (“Allow me to reintroduce myself…”) It’s been awhile since Jay Z has appeared hungry or even wide-eyed onstage, as he’s racked up plenty of massive hits and features to fill up two stadium tours’ worth of set lists in the last two years alone. After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands.

The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor.

Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners.

To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street. Drake will celebrate his self-proclaimed “second home,” Houston, Texas with his second Houston Appreciation Weekend, set to take place over Memorial Day weekend, Vibe reports.

The weekend will reportedly feature several charity-driven events, though the centerpiece will be a celebrity softball game on Friday, May 22nd at the University of Houston’s Cougar Field. Drake will take the field alongside a number of athletes and entertainers, including local talent like former Astros stars Chris Sampson and Brandon Backe, the Houston Texans’ Duane Brown and Darryl Morris Jr. and Houston rapper Kirko Bangz. As Drake’s debut mixtape, So Far Gone, was gaining traction in 2009, Bun B told Rolling Stone, “It’s just one of those moments in time, where the right person comes with the right music to the people.

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