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No Country for Old (Rap) Men: Has Jay Z got one more album in him?

And what would a 2016 Jay Z rap album sound like, anyway?

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With two new guest verses under his belt via Fat Joe/Remy Ma and Pusha T, speculation is rife that Beyoncé’s husband may be considering recording an exclusive Tidal-only LP in yet another attempt to force people to subscribe to yet another streaming music service. Could it be that publicly having his balls served to him on a platter by his wife on Lemonade will prompt him to strike back with his own soda-themed concept LP? Sarspa-Trilla? Dr. Pep-Her?

Let’s be honest – I can’t imagine that anyone outside of the most rabid Beyhive stans actually bought the idea that Yoncé would go ahead and publically…um…’ether’ her dude on her last album/multimedia project/event (available exclusively through Tidal, natch). Chalk it up to another calculated dramatic turn in the heavily scripted narrative that is Bey-Z’s ‘Public Life.’ Looking forward to scouring through every rap Jay performs this year to find some witty subliminals to wifey? Yeah, me neither.

Reality TV style shenanigans aside, it is pretty creepy how Monsoir Carter seems to be fixated on the former flames of his enemies, what with the whole Nas/Carmen thing and now Dame Dash’s ex ‘with the good hair.’ One can logically expect that as soon as Jay and Kanye decide to stop watching the throne and going for each other’s throats that the Artist Formerly Known As Jigga will be trying to throw a leg over Kimmy K quicker than he spat a verse on ‘The Originators’.

What would a 2016 Jay Z album sound like anyway? If Magna Carta (available exclusively to Samsung S-model smartphone owners for the first 24 hours – what a time to to be alive!) was anything to go by, it’ll be more ‘paint-by-numbers’ Shareholders Meeting Rap, with beats by Swizz and Pharrell and a collaboration with Adele (since Rick Rubin has her number on his speed dial and he needs to make himself useful in between naps on the sofa). I vaguely recall writing about that piece of audio spam when it was released and arguing that Jay should have taken the opportunity to take some sonic and conceptual risks rather than just trying to sound like a rapping art collector.

The same applies here. If the big fella is going to take the time out of his busy schedule of constantly out-earning Nas, awkwardly jumping into swimming pools, and getting beaten up by in-laws in elevators, he may as well have the stones to do some wild shit. By that, I’m not suggesting some Yeezus fake punk nonsense – rather that he chooses a single producer, books a studio on top of the Swiss Alps for a month with plenty of weed, fine cognac, and a PS4 connected to the world’s largest TV and make a fucking great rap album.

I’m not expecting Jay to recreate his old nineties shit with DJ Premier; nor his Blueprint era sound with Just Blaze and Kanye; or even an entire LP that sounds like ’99 Problems’ (although that would be greater than great). He’s been there and done that. What would be revolutionary is if he had the courage to select one producer and just rap for the hell of it, ignoring musical trends, focus groups, and potential Tidal franchising opportunities. It’s not even important what he’s rapping about at this stage, as long as it’s done well. If the beats and the flow are on point, dude can rap about his expanded stock market portfolio and advice on diversifying your bonds for all I care. Failing that, how about 50 minutes of him complaining about his wife leaving the toilet seat down all the time? I’m not fussed, just as long as he doesn’t title it Coca-Hova.

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