For the past two years, malicious rumors of a joint Beyoncé-Jay Z album have terrorized us on the Internet. Vague “sources” have been quoted everywhere from Rap Up to Vanity Fair, claiming that the cursed release is set to have a surprise stream on Tidal.
This is a particularly harmful threat to a longtime Jay Z stan like myself, still nursing the trauma from his “Pound Cake" verse and other erroneous features (including that limerick he gave Drake) that only serve as additional dents in his already battered legacy. To make matters worse, Jay Z has stoked more fear into the hearts of millions by offering a new verse on the remix of Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All the Way Up.”
Remy sounds better than ever; even Joe sounds a bit refreshed. Jay … Jay offers the rap equivalent of a $25 Black Angus gift card. You not gonna turn down that gift card, but it’s still Black Angus—no one is getting excited about that s—t.
My face contorted as I heard him name-drop the success of his artistically better better half’s recent album and the elevator incident … that Bey had also already mentioned. I audibly groaned when I heard him utter “It’s survival of the littest” and make a David LaChapelle reference that harked back to the days when both he and Vibe were pop-culture standards of excellence.
Is this foreshadowing? Does this mean that Satan’s busy ass is working a double shift and Jay is going to plague this world with a response to Lemonade or, even worse, a joint album with Bey? Each possibility is horrifying; a Jay Lemonade response is an unknown horror. Aside from “Song Cry” and “Lost One,” we’re not sure what else to expect of a Jay album that is supposed to mirror an arguable testament to the trials of his marriage.
A joint album is a more familiar punishment, since Jay and Beyoncé have miraculously managed to make some of the worst music of their careers with each other. I’m also not fond of Jay sullying Bey’s musical winning streak with his stench of recent wackness; need I remind you all of his “Drunk in Love” verse? Exactly. However, I feel that a solo Jay project is more imminent. So I have crafted some key suggestions to act as strikes against this orange-level threat of new Shawn Carter material.
- Kidnap Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Deposit them into an unknown location for at least two to three years. Timbaland and J.T. are the usual suspects when it comes to whom Jay looks for when it’s time to make tepid music, since Timbo was largely responsible for Magna Carta Holy Grail. Maybe if they aren’t available, this will discourage him and buy us some more time until he goes to some monastery in Nepal to unearth Rick Rubin.
- Pay Foxy Brown to tail him and follow him to all his favorite studio locations. If there is one person Jay seems to ignore and avoid on purpose, it’s Foxy, theories as to why notwithstanding. She can serve as a powerful asset to the “Stop Jay Z” agenda. I’d wager that she is not that quick to turn down a check; we could GoFundMe her payments. Perhaps the mere site of Inga Marchand and her steely, piercing-blue contacts glaring at him while she’s pacing back and forth in front of his creative spaces, threatening to pound him with her Louis Speedy bag, will hinder his process.
- Hack into Tidal. Undoubtedly, any and everything Jay releases will be a Tidal “exclusive,” and I’m sure he’d want the rollout for such a project to go as smoothly as possible. The anti-Anti release. Hacking into the Tidal database (because according to all computer-hacker movies, it’s always the database or system mainframe) and shaking his confidence that said rollout will have a seamless execution will buy us time. I don’t know exactly what message to send after hacking it, but make it something ominous. Post Peedi Crakk mixtapes or recent Jaz-O interviews. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
- Remind him that Kingdom Come happened; plead to his humanity. Jay hates Kingdom Come as much as we do. On his own Life+Times website, he ranked his albums from best to worst. Not surprisingly, Kingdom Come was listed as No. 12 with the caption, “First game back, don’t shoot me.” He knows. What Jay attempted with Kingdom Come is what he will likely attempt with a new album meant to be a response to Bey’s Lemonade: an attempt to offer a mature window into his adult life and his vulnerability. What has resulted from such ambitions in the past is an album that should be played only as an act of mental warfare. The probability of similar wackness is very high. I propose we compile a short documentary interviewing Jay Z fans about how we felt listening to Kingdom Come and how we’ve learned to heal and move past it. Make it go viral and enter it into every pretentious film festival possible until he has no choice but to face our scars.
- Time travel. I haven’t sussed out all the details on this proposal yet. Just know that things can get very dark going down this road and it is a point of no return.
Sure, my reaction might seem hyperbolic, and my plans impossible to people with no imagination or faith in magic and technology. But I’m willing to do whatever it takes to prevent having to be subjected to my favorite rapper further destroying my youthful admiration with his aggressive mediocrity. A rapper of Jay’s age who is still able to maintain a modicum of relevance all these years in such a youth-driven genre is a feat, I’ll admit. However, seeing Jay become the rapper he is today is like seeing an aging Batman in a urologist's office.
Jay, please stahp. :-(
Danielle Butler is a 30-ish-year-old Los Angeles-Chicago hybrid whose mutant powers include procrastinating and relating any topic to food. Her favorite pastimes include watching SpongeBob with her son, yelling at her cat and lying about working on her book of short stories.