Don’t Be Mad At Gwyneth Paltrow, Be Mad At Jay-Z & Kanye West For Calling Their Song “N***as In Paris”!

Over the last few days I’ve read numerous blogs and publications bashing Gwyneth Paltrow for using the ‘N’ word on Twitter during a “Watch The Throne” gig in France. And by no means do I support the usage of such language, but I think the backlash is aimed at the wrong person.

The Hollywood actress – who’s BFF’s with Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce – got onstage with Jigga and Kanye West during the show and later tweeted a photo of herself standing near the rappers, with the caption “Ni**as in paris for real.”

And that’s when the outrage began. “How dare she use the N word?” Many gasped. “She should know better” a lot people said. Erm, shouldn’t Jay-Z and Kanye know better? If you’re going to name your song “N***as In Paris”, then what do you expect? She obviously didn’t mean it in an offensive way, but it’s clearly an offensive word.

I totally understand why people will say she shouldn’t have tweeted that, but what I don’t understand is that why is nobody criticizing the rappers? They’re the ones who are promoting the word like it’s ‘cool’. Let’s deal with the root of the problem. Let’s be mad at the ones who ignorantly promote the word, not just the fans who naively (and ignorantly) imitate them. I LOVE hip hop music – and Jay-Z & Kanye are two of my favourite artists – but I think it’s about time we heard less of the ‘N’ word in rap songs (especially in the songs title).

Here’s British rapper AKALA talking about why he’s decided to stop using the ‘N’ word in his lyrics.

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne, 02 Arena, London, Live Review!

Six months after completing the US leg, rap royalty Jay-Z and Kanye West finally bring their highly anticipated Watch The Throne Tour to UK soil. And it’s undoubtedly worth the wait.

It’s not hard to see why Yeezy and HOV refer to themselves as “The Throne”, as cocky as it may be. Jay-Z, an emerging billionaire, has more US number one albums than Elvis Presley, with a successful career spanning over fifteen years. And his protégée Kanye West is close on his heels. While at times it’s easy to dislike Mr West, the flamboyant rapper’s musical genius often overrides his ego-fuelled gaffes. So it’s no surprise the rap juggernauts joint show is the hottest ticket in town, with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessie J in attendance.

The 20,000-strong crowd patiently waits as the reigning monarchs of hip-hop are fashionably late to hit the stage at London’s O2 (as part of five consecutive shows at the Greenwich venue). But fans are unfazed by the 45 minute wait, as the anticipation only fuels excitement. Suddenly, the music dips and the venue erupts into frenzied applause, as the superstar rappers emerge. Sticking to their “all black everything” motto, both are decked out in black clothing from head to toe – with West donning what appears to be a skirt over his leather trousers. And in an intriguingly unique entrance, West, 34, and 42-year-old Jigga enter the stage on boxes from opposite sides of the venue, spitting back and forth with one another, opening the historic night with ‘H.A.M’.

Both stages slowly rise, with images of barking dogs and wildlife projecting from each, as the duo performs tracks from their smash hit joint album. As the intro to Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ plays, Jay sprints to the main stage to join his collaborator, and the pair break into the LP’s leading single ‘Otis’. Accompanied with a giant American flag draped at the back, it’s at this point the show really gets underway.

The tour may be called Watch The Throne, but both MCs – to the delight of fans – play numerous tracks from their impressive back catalogue of hits. Jay-Z’s ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’ and ‘Big Pimpin’’ takes older fans back to the Roc-A-Fella heyday, while West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘All Falls Down’ garners rapturous screams and excited shape-throwing gestures.

Showcasing their natural stage chemistry, Yeezy assists Jay during a rendition of ‘99 Problems’, while HOV returns the favour on West’s ‘Gold Digger’. A personal highlight comes when the pair takes it down a notch, grabbing a seat, whilst casually conversing, reminiscing about earlier days –which proves a great intro to Jigga’s breakthrough 1997 single ‘Hard Knock Life’.

Despite its wide success, some critics have questioned the ‘Watch The Throne’ album, claiming the record’s over-the-top boasting of wealth, designer garments and private jet lifestyle, in a time where most are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch, suggests the rap icons are slowly losing touch with their original hip hop fanbase. And while elements of that cannot be disputed, the albums triumph (both commercially and within the hip hop scene) proves rap fans (and pop fans alike) are very much so onboard with the duo’s “luxury rap”. And The O2 gig is a testament to that.

The US stars close their breathtaking two-hour set with an extended version of ‘N****s In Paris’ – which is reloaded an astonishing FOUR times, providing a perfect encore to what is quite frankly an EPIC show. Jay and Kanye are well and truly sitting on top of the hip hop throne, with no contenders remotely insight of knocking them off anytime soon.

Words by Vanessa Laker

Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne | Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) “N****s in Poorest”

Like a lot you, I was happy when I got the news that Jay-Z and Kanye West would finally be bringing their Watch The Throne Tour to the UK. I’ve been a Jigga fan since I can remember. OK that’s a lie, more like since 1997 – which is a damn long time. And Yeezy has been doing his thing for quite some time now, so the chance of catching these two rap Juggernauts live at the same time, is something most  rap fans won’t wanna miss (including myself).

But while I’m excitedly anticipating the show – which will hit London’s 02 Arena on May 20th – I have to admit I was very slightly disappointed with the lyrical content of the Watch The Throne album . This may sound hypocritical as I casually blast “Otis” loud on my iPod, but as much as I love HOV and ‘Ye, the lyrical content for this record is very questionable. But like a lot of today’s hip-hop music, we tend to over look lyrical content in favour of a nice flow or heavy bass.

This is why I was so happy when Yasiin Bey (formally known as Mos Def) dropped his version of the pairs widley poppular “N–ggas In Paris”, titled “N-ggas In Poorest”, where the Brooklyn native ‘keeps it real’ in a candid, raw, politically charged and some-what controvesial video/song about what’s happening in many parts of society.

I say controversial beacause he constantly echoes the lines “Don’t get caught up in no throne” – which is a clear reference to Jay and Kanye. And even more interesting is the fact that Mos Def Yasiin is signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D record label. Awkward!

Not that I’m knocking Mr Carter and West, because I’m genuinly a HUGE fan of them both (HUGE I tell you, Huge), but a lot of mainstream hip-hop lacks purpose with regards to lyrical content. I’m not saying MC’s should become all political on us and start preaching (we damn sure don’t need that), but some of their songs should have more substance. Hip-hop used to be able to really talk to people. Yes we all like those club bangers that can get us on the dance floor, but there’s got to be more.  There has to be a limit to how many times you can talk about your new Rolex or that “other other Bentley” you just purchased. Especially in these hard economic times when most of the world is feeling the true brunt of the repercussions of the recession.

To be honest I don”t expect much change in mainstream hip-hop anytime soon – especially if  many people (including myself), happily purchase such records reguardles of what we really feel about the lyrical content. Like I said at the beginning, I’m happily waiting for the Watch The Throne show to come across the pond.  This is why we have to Salute artists like Yasiin Bey for being bold enough to put out something so real in a genre where ‘really keeping it real’, doesn’t get you the type of recognition and accolades you deserve. “N*ggas in Poorest” may be a little bit too real for some people, but hey, more power to you Yasiin. Hip-hop needs people like you to keep the balance in a very unbalanced genre. And on that note I’m gonna stop my rambling and let you listen to the song. It’s a very powerful message.

RIP Malcolm X

Shakira signs to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Label!

If you thought Jay-Z‘s label was strictly “urban” , then think again. Where as Roc-A-Fella may have been straight up hip-hop, HOV’s branching out to all genres of music this time around. The rap mogul has just signed Shakira to his Roc Nation imprint. XXLmagazine reports that the Colombian superstar – who has  two Grammys and eight Latin Grammys under her belt –  is now label mates with the likes of Rihanna, J Cole and  Santigold.

Shakira, Shakira! She’s throwing up the Roc. The superstar Colombian singer has signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for management, XXLMag.com has learned.

With worldwide appeal, Shakira has sold more than 60 million albums and won 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards and two Grammy Awards.

With the signing to Roc Nation for management, Shakira joins the likes of Rihanna, Wale, Santigold and Melanie Fiona, who are all signed under Roc Nation’s management umbrella. Managed producers under Roc Nation include Jahlil Beats, No I.D. and S1.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Jigga may not have been the most valid boss when he was head of Def Jam, but the On The Next One MC is really making his mark with his current label as he continues to take Roc Nation to new heights.  He’s definitely got his eyes set on becoming a billionaire – and soon.

Jay-Z & Beyonce Reveal Baby Blue Ivy Carter pictures!

Ever since Beyonce gave birth, the press have been on a hunt to get the first exclusive pictures of the singer and rapper hubby Jay-Z‘s first child, Blue Ivy Carter. And with the former Destiny’s Child singer now pictured out and about again since giving birth, many have been anxious to see the newest member of the Knowles-Carter clan.

Unlike selling the first pictures of their baby to OK or People Magazine (it’s not as if they need the extra money), Jay-Z has taken to his Life and Style website to unviel the first exclusive pics of their new bundle of joy, giving fans a precious insight and little glimpse of the superstar couples personal life away from the stage.

Suri Cruz and Harper Seven Beckham better watch out, because there’s a new princess in town…

Drake Speaks Out On Lil Wayne/Jay-Z Diss Track!

As you may or may not know, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z are possibly in the midst of a brewing beef. Well in case you don’t know, here’s the 411…

Last week Weezy took a few swipes at Jigga on a new track titled ‘It’s Good’ – which was conveniently leaked online just before the release of the Cater 4 (I’m just saying).

Anyway, on the track, Wayne raps “talkin’ ’bout Baby money? I got your Baby money/ Kidnap yo’ bitch, get that how-much-you-love-your-lady money.”

Now Lil Wayne wasn’t just taking shots at Jay for no reason, the record is a response to Jay’s verse on ‘H.A.M’, where he takes a few shots at Weezy’s mentor Baby: “Really, half-a-billi?’ N—a, really, you got Baby money/ Keep it real with n—as, n—as ain’t got my lady money,” Jay raps.

So, a beef between Jay-Z and Lil Wayne? Well the problem is Drake and Jadakiss also feature on the supposedly diss track ‘It’s Good’. Although Drake and Kiss don’t actually say anything negative, some spectators may claim that them featuring on a track that disses H.O.V is still disrespectful – espeially considering Jay-Z and Drake are good freinds.

MTV US recently caught up with Drake to find out his thoughts on the record:

“I just got a beat and did a verse over it. Whatever any other individual has to say, you have to ask the man himself. I just did what I know how to do. I just got on a record. I heard the beat, did a verse and heard the final product.[…]At the end of the day, rap is an individual art. You express yourself and whatever you wanna say, you say it, so I guess that’s a question for Wayne more than me.”

While Drake was a bit more shy diplomatic with his answer, Jadakiss on the other hand was a bit more outspoken. The veteran rapper took to Twitter to air his opinion on the subject matter.

Yall hating ass c*cksuckers better chill..they only sent me a track wit NO verses and I recorded that verse 3 months ago! #leavemeoutofit.

When I DISS n*ggas or have a problem Wit ANY RAPPER I SAY THere NAMES without hesitation and YALL know this already!”

And that’s the story so far…

Jay-Z Tops Forbes Cash King List Of 2011!

Once again Jay-Z is sitting pretty as the number one rapper who made the most bank in 2011. The rap mogel beat out P.Diddy as he was named hip-hop’s top earner by Forbes.

Thanks to his deal with Live Nation, his 40/40 nightclub chains and a bunch of other business ventures, Jigga made $37 million dollers in the last 12 months. Diddy was fresh on his heels, raking in $35 million to take second place. While Kanye West rounded up the top three, with an estimated total of $16 million.

Here’s the top ten Forbes Cash Kings List of 2011:

1. Jay-Z – $37 million
2. P. Diddy – $35 million
3. Kanye West – $16 million
4. Lil Wayne (tie) – $15 million
4. Birdman (tie) – $15 million
6. Eminem (tie) – $14 million
6. Dr. Dre (tie) – $14 million
6. Snoop Dogg (tie) – $14 million
9. Akon – $13 million
10. Ludacris – $12 million

Jay-Z Buys Pharell’s Billionaire’s Boys Club!

Jay-Z should change his name to Jay-$ because the man is a true businessman. The rap mogul is expanding his empire and has purchased trendy clothing line Billionaire Boys Club – which is owned byPharell Williams.

The Empire State of Mind hitmaker has obtained the licensing to manufacture and distribute the Billionaire Boys Club label via his Rocawear brand.

According to GQ.com, the hip-hop stars will work “as a tandem” to capitalise on “Jay Z’s business prowess and Pharrell’s creativity” to boost the profile of the line, which Williams established in 2005 with his designer friend Nigo.

Jay Z sold the rights to Rocawear to the Iconix Brand Group in 2007, but he remains a shareholder and is still in charge of product development, marketing and licensing.

Now that’s a very clever business move.

Jay-Z Denies Kanye West Feud!

Jay-Z has denied reports suggesting that him and Kanye West are currently feuding over their Watch The Throne tour details.

Over the weekend The New York Post reported that the rap megastars are ”barely speaking to each other” after disagreeing over tour production costs. Whilst Jigga wants to keep costs low, Yeezy is allegded to want to spend big on stage props and apparently wants to spend   $400,000 (£245,250) per show.

“Jay-z can’t deal with Kanye. Jay is a stone-cold businessman. He wants to recoup all of his money from Live Nation,” the US newspaper wrote. “But Kanye wants to upstage rock stars with a blowout show. He doesn’t care about costs. He has a lot less to gain from the shows.”

However, Jay-Z has dismissed this strory,  telling New York’s Hot 97 radio station that the false gossip only helps promote their collaborative project.

“I kinda want to spend a gazillion dollars. They got it backwards, but it’s all good. I know that we’re doing something right now. When I woke up to all that, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we must be really hot right now’,” he explained.

However, Jay-Z insisted that while he and West “get on each other’s nerves”, they do not allow the negative aspects to take over and instead become empowered by those who don’t support their sound.

“The people who have a problem with Kanye or myself are the people that are complacent in life. People don’t like to be pushed. It’s, like, annoying. It’s a thing when people are pushing you to be greater, and we push each other to be greater,” Jay-Z said.

Good good, I’m glad to hear all is well in the ‘Watch The Trone’ camp. We’ve been waiting far too long for this project, so there’s no space (or time) for any squabbles.