The Black Album is widely regarded to be one of the great rap albums of all time and I’ve been meaning to download it for years. That I never have irks me. The only reason I have “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” in my library is because my wife absolutely adores this song.
Produced by Timbaland, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” is, in a word, brilliant. On of the song’s basic themes – brushing off the things that are bothering you – and Jay Z’s now-famous gesture that illustrate’s the theme had an enormous cultural reach. When he was running against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, Barack Obama even used the gesture to respond to how he handled criticism from Clinton’s campaign.
The song’s other basic theme is that Jay Z is the greatest rapper alive. You know, he’s able to say that and still come across as a pretty cool guy. Somehow when his protege Kanye West says the same thing, Kanye sounds like an ego-maniac. How you say something is sometimes as important as what you say.
I really need to download some more Jay Z. The more I listen to him, the more I just want to shout ‘take my money’ at him and but everything he’s ever done.
DJ Danger Mouse remixed a bunch of songs from The Black Album with songs from The Beatles’ White Album to create The Grey Album. Here’s how he remixed “Julia” by The Beatles with this song: