An Open Letter to Jay-Z

Dear Jay,

Can I call you Jay? Thanks. I heard you were coming to town and I just wanted to make a little public service announcement sharing my concerns about your latest high-profile celebrity feud. Up against NaS and The Game, you handled yourself well, and I think it's fair to say that we all had your back. But this new beef has forced me to rethink my loyalties.

I'm referring, of course, to your recent rant against Auto-Tune. It's bad enough that you had to make a clichéd diss track the first single off your post-post-post-retirement album, but then you're out there knocking all the "rappas turnt sangas." Compared to "Takeover," this is pathetic. Even next to your hits on NBA player DeShawn Stevenson in "Blow the Whistle," it's lame.

Jay-Z: Auto-Tune hater.
Jay-Z: Auto-Tune hater.

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Jay-Z is scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 2.
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Look, I can see where you're coming from. Ever since T-Pain adopted the pitch-correcting technology to create his hallmark sound, it seems everyone who's anyone in hip-hop (present company excluded) has been picking it up. Now, maybe you cut "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" because you're worried that it's bastardizing hip-hop. Or maybe you just think the effect is played out. Either way, the truth is that you should be above the fray on this issue. You're Sean Carter. Hova. Jiggaman. Your birthday ("December 4th") is a hood holiday. What more can I say: You built the dynasty by being one of the realest [fellows] out. So why are you crying about how Akon cuts a record? I mean, you've got 99 problems — does Auto-Tune need to be number 100? Why not spend that time relaxing, maybe at the 40/40 club, with ESPN on the screen?

I mean, really, you just released a song to bitch about decades-old technology. Isn't that a bit undignified for an artist and businessman of your caliber? Barack Obama didn't get to the Oval Office by campaigning against Barry Goldwater, and you can't stay at the top of your game if you're focusing on iTunes plug-ins. You might as well pick a beef with Milli Vanilli.

You can talk shit about Auto-Tune, but here's the truth: Your song kinda sucks. Even if I look past the part where you — the founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Rocawear — insinuate that you're not in it for the money, and then ignore the part where you butcher the hook from "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" like an American Idol reject, the writing still leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Besides all that, Auto-Tune is actually awesome. Without it, we wouldn't have 808s and Heartbreak. Hell, we wouldn't even have T-Pain. And anybody with access to YouTube knows that any given episode of Auto-Tune the News is easily twice as entertaining as "D.O.A."

And, seriously, Mr. C.E.O.: While you player-hate, Kanye's in the upper millions. And, yes, he knows you're going to criticize the hook on his song, but does he really give a fuck? No, he does not.

Let's compare. Here's you rapping about Auto-Tune, but off on a tangent: "Stop your blood clot crying / the kid, the dog / everybody dying / no lying."

Not the most original rhymes I've ever heard. Alan Keyes could have written that. Now listen to Auto-Tune the News, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lamented the lack of women on the Supreme Court: "Ain't nobody have a breakfast with all sausage and no eggs, / We need a shorty with a hot body and sexy legs / When the court convenes it's an ancient sausage festival / Only two ovaries, 16 testicles."

That's brilliant. Especially compared to "D.O.A.": "Get your chain tooken / I may do it myself / I'm so Brooklyn!"

Actually, Jay, I'd say you are making Brooklyn look bad. Michael Gregory, the creator of Auto-Tune the News, lives in Brooklyn, too, though, admittedly he used to dribble (as a baby) down in VA (he's originally from Radford). Though he's a Brooklyn immigrant, I would argue that he is, without reasonable doubt, Brooklyn's finest. What else can I say about the dude, he gets busy?

You've still got a couple months before The Blueprint85 drops. So, please, Jay, take your time, regroup, and put out a product you can be proud of.

 
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7 comments
sean
sean

U obviosly dont kno much about hip hop or jay for that matter u just an writer or journalist if u will 1st quoting jay-z while dissing him isn't effective to most hip hop heads because its a constant reminder of his innovation . 2nd "stop all ya blodclot crying" is a quote from the head of the commission Notorious BIG , The commission also included charlie baltimore, foxy brown, AZ and jay-z i suggest that the quote was Jays way of paying Homage.So if he say's "All rhymers with Alzheimers line up please, all mommies with mind freeze please line up please, all bloggers with comments, please I come in peace, see if we can kill your amnesia by the time Ieave" then im sorry he targeted u lol. here are some more lyrics from an epic song (Reminder) By jay z

What the hell have yall done, to even have an opinion on what I been doing, what the hell have y�all won, only thing you can identify with is losing, 10 number 1 albums in a row, who better than me? only the Beatles nobody ahead of me, I crush Elvis in his blue suede shoes, Made the rolling stones seem sweet as coolaid 2, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 2001 and beyond, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 7, 08, 09 back to back double plat, i did what you want, men lie women lie, numbers don�t, ain�t nothing changed for me except the year it is, i think have to send you a reminder,

Jon
Jon

This is one of the worst articles i have ever read. Auto Tune is ruining the music industry, it gives the chance for ALL talent less people the chance to take there terrible voice mainstream. As for the 808 and Heart break, the world would be alot better place without that album, and we would still have it except that Kanye would actually have to go back to doing some good rapping instead of pretending he can sing.

emilio
emilio

Brian how many albums have you sold?Your debating the opinion of the headliner of Glastonbury 08....A master of his craft. How many awards have you recieved?Are you 8 Grammys deep?150 million dollar record deal around you?Did you have Michael Jackson on stage with you?Have your ideas taken you from one side of town to the next?Why would you even call him jay? If you were him wouldn't you like Mr. Carter?

Ian Pruitt
Ian Pruitt

Dear Brian,Can I call you Brian? Thanks. I just read your Open Letter to Jay-Z and I just wanted to make public service announcement sharing my opinion of you and your thoughts about auto-tune and the state of hip-hop. First let me start of by saying that I did enjoy your references to Jay�s songs in the letter but that�s where it stopped. Your comments in support of auto-tune are exactly what�s wrong with hip-hop these days. People, artist, record labels are all in search of the all mighty dollar, which is fine I suppose being it is a business these days. But the way artist and record labels have been in search of this dollar is pretty sickening as it has come to gimmicks to sell records. Auto-tune may have been a �tool� used long ago but in recent history it has become a crutch and a gimmick. I think what you failed to understand, Jay wasn�t hating on auto-tune, he was hating on the way it�s become a gimmick for people to sell records and ringtones. The record is an assault on all fake bullshit; auto-tune just took top billing in that assault. Just to make it clear, Jay wasn�t campaigning against Barry Goldwater to get to the oval office. He�s campaigning against people using his �tactics� and �speeches� (if you will) to make it to the top of the game just to sell a few ringtones. I really hope this doesn�t leave you �8o8 and Heart-broken� but I really think you might need a few lessons in hip-hop or something before you run your mouth off the Sean Carter. Hova. Jiggaman. Because to me it�s pretty clear you�re out of touch with real hip-hop when you write a letter defending auto-tune.

6X
6X

Well damn, if artists can't exercise their rights to free speech and thought who can? Is it really that serious?? Hip hop has always been the master forum voice triumphs and frustrations on record. If we start tip-toeing around how we really feel about things, then our artform will have a serious problem. It ain't all pretty. It's just hip hop. RELAX!!!!! jeez!

Fajar
Fajar

So Jay-Z may have lost his touch - auto-tune still sucks.

Hector
Hector

Brian,

You and the way you think is exactly what is wrong with the music today, specifically Hip Hop. In his song, DOA, Jay is talking about how horrible the music scene is and how no one cares about the craft of making music. Everyone is so busy trying to get the next hot 15 minutes so they can score a ringtone or a jingle, and no one is investing in making good music. DOA is a HOT record and Jay brings it back to HOT lyrics. Maybe you should stick to listening to your favorite song when your mobile phone rings and let Jay continue to make these great songs. I look forward to having him tear the roof off of the Dodge Theatre tonight.

 
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