Music Industry

Here's Why Christmas Shopping with Jay Z Is a Terrible Idea

Last week, upscale New York retailer Barneys announced the "New York Holiday" collection, in which it pairs with luxury-rap icon Jay Z to produce a bunch of superfluous shit you'll never, ever buy. Amidst the $70 t-shirts and fancy knit scarves and gold double-rings (which are something that people wear, apparently) is the centerpiece, a $33,900 watch from Hublot, with "black alligator straps, deployment buckle and yellow gold movement." I'm not sure what a deployment buckle is, but it sounds expensive.

In the event that you're not one of the, like, eight people in Jay's tax bracket, it might be fun to bust out the calculator and imagine what you might purchase instead of dropping that kind of bank on something so fleeting and unnecessary as a blinged-way-the-fuck-out watch.

Here's one: If you wished, you could buy all 1,922 Jay-Z songs available on iTunes--album material, remixes, features, basically anything his finger has touched--about 17 times over.

Sure, it's not clear why you'd need these songs for you and 16 of your closest friends. And even though Hov is one of the best emcees now or ever, it's not really clear why you'd want all of his stuff, either, given how uneven his work can be. (Another way of thinking about this is that you could buy about four thousand CD copies of The Blueprint.) Still, though, it seems a better use of your money to spend it on Jay rapping instead of designing watches.

You might also spend your $33,900 on any number of other watches, of course, if timepieces are really your thing. Even the most expensive one available from Jay-Z's own Rocawear could be yours about 322 times over, which is really cool if you imagine all of them on your arms at the same exact time.

A bit more gaudy than the Hublot, sure, but Jay's not into the whole subtlety thing anyway: $33,900 would get you a mere 1/147th of the $5 million watch Beyoncé bought him last year.

Those watches will make a fine accoutrement while you're sitting front row at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with VIP tickets to Jay's show, which you could attend with 48 of your friends, for whom you've just purchased tickets. I don't have 48 friends, I don't think, but maybe you do. Buying them front-row tickets would rapidly move them out of the "acquaintances" category, at any rate.

Oh, and then there's all the practical, non-Jay-Z related shit that $33,900 would get you, too, like a nicely equipped automobile, or brand-new furniture for your whole house, or a goodly chunk of a college education.

Or it could all go to a deserving charity, of course--though it does bear mentioning that 25% of the proceeds from the "New York Holiday" collection will be given to those less fortunate than you or Hov, the latter category including pretty much everyone.

Not that you have to decide on any of these things now, or ever, of course. The very act of offering such a ludicrous item speaks more to Jay's (and Barneys') disconnect from everyone but the 1% than it does to anything else. Still--stuck this firmly inside a recession, it's fun to imagine that disposable income, whatever you'd do with it.

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Derek Askey
Contact: Derek Askey