A Lyrics and Scriptures Analysis of “Kill Jay-Z” – by Timothy Jones

kill-jay-z-444

I’ve been listening and talking about Jay-Z’s latest album 4:44 for a few days now and with so many thoughts swirling in my head I was unsure where to begin in expressing my views on the album and its subject matter.  I am a lot of things but most important to me is who I am in the eyes of God and that is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I then figured why not begin where Jay begins with the first track of the album, “Kill Jay-Z.”   “Lyrics and Scriptures” is an approach to developing and enhancing one’s “spiritual media literacy” through the analysis, evaluation and subsequent discussions where lyrics from songs are aligned with scriptures from the bible based on themes and or direct quotes.

You can find the lyrics and explanations for “Kill Jay-Z” here https://genius.com/12250494

The simple premise of the song is a reflection on the war that takes place within us as we go through and begin to have shift in perspectives and values.  Here are five scriptures that come to mind when listening to “Kill Jay-Z” along with the lyrics from the song that align with the scripture that can be meditated upon as you go through your own war of growing up and becoming more aware of what is important and lasting in your life.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Kill Jay Z, they’ll never love you. You’ll never be enough, let’s just keep it real, Jay Z

  • The result off asking Christ into your heart and to be your Lord and Savior is the death of the sinful you that existed in darkness because you hadn’t been introduced to the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. The new creation based on the song would be Sean Carter and the old things that need to pass away are the thoughts, actions and sins of Jay-Z.
  1. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Cry Jay-Z we know the pain is real. But you can’t heal what you never reveal

  • Jay-Z speaks about his past transgressions in this song just as we should confess our sins to God believing that He will not only forgive us of our sins but cleanse us so that we don’t return to our sinful ways. We cannot be righteous within our natural selves because the self-serving desires of our flesh are too strong.
  1. Luke 6:42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

But this f&^% everybody attitude ain’t natural. But you ain’t a saint this isn’t kumbaye

  • The flow of “Kill Jay-Z” Jay-Z addresses some of his issues before commenting on his brother Kanye West. For us to see our brother’s actions clearly to bring correction in love we must judge and seek correction for our own actions first.
  1. Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Let go your ego over your right shoulder. Your left is sayin’, “Finish your breakfast

  • Jay-Z speaks about having a sense of good and evil over his right and left shoulder. This is a portrayal of the battle that we must fight and the fight is not with people it is a spiritual battle that the scriptures explain throughout Ephesians 6 how we ought to fight.
  1. Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;

But you gotta do better boy, you owe it to Blue

What up Jay-Z? You know you owe the truth to all the youth that fell in love with Jay-Z

  • One the main reasons for killing Jay-Z is the notion that Sean Carter is the better father for his daughter Blue. Jay-Z speaks about telling the truth to the youth that fell in love with Jay-Z.  Throughout the rest of the album there are references to his role as a father and husband.  This scripture is the beginning of instructions to us to shun evil counsel.  The lyrics expressed throughout the career of Jay-Z can be looked upon as being filled with evil counsel to the youth that he must now admit for their benefit.

 

Be on the lookout for more writings based on “4:44” and other works by Timothy Jones.  If you would like more information about “Lyrics and Scriptures” and or “HipHopEd” please contact Timothy Jones on Twitter @tdj6899 or via email at timothydaivdjones@gmail.com

 

 

Advertisements

The Use and Abuse of Words, Culture and History

Nicki-Minaj-Lookin-X-300x300by Timothy Jones

We exist in a cycle where it can be perceived that men go to extreme lengths to garner respect and admiration from other men but part of the often twisted measurement of manhood is based on the respect and admiration we receive from women.  Even though as men we may do so many things together, at the end of the day it is what women think of us that goes a long way in validating our sense of self esteem and self worth to ourselves when we look in the mirror.  As men we control so many of the images and messages that are sent to women about what constitutes being a real man.  As men it is one level of pressure to rise above the narrow and often dysfunctional portrayals of what makes a man a man that is presented by men, but when this narrow and dysfunctional portrayal is embraced and presented by women it makes this cycle even more dangerous because in the end we as men want the respect and admiration of women.

Nicki Minaj released a song on February 12th called “Lookin A$$ Nigga” (http://youtu.be/vEZ-e6tBigY). In this song Nicki is identifying the men who can only look from the sidelines during the game of life because they are lacking what is necessary to play in the game.  This includes what it would take to get with Nicki Minaj sexually which is the ultimate determining factor in measuring real niggas versus looking a$$ niggas in the minds of men.  Mobb Deep made the Hip-Hop classic “Shook Ones” http://youtu.be/yoYZf-lBF_U where the hook states “You shook ain’t no such thing as half way crooks, scared to death scared to look, you shook.”  “Shook Ones” can be looked at as a song that also presents paradigms of manhood that is accepted and respected in hood and those that aren’t.  One difference is that in ‘Shook Ones” the measurements of manhood doesn’t include the admiration and respect of women as a qualifier.

Another interesting aspect to “Lookin A$$ Nigga” is the shift in the tone of how Nicki Minaj is classifying and addressing men as Niggas from her song “N.I.G.G.A.S” http://youtu.be/DHtu7ghUCVY  In N.I.G.G.A.S Nicki Minaj is shouting out attributes of men that she admires and even included Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X by desiring to have the chance to thank them for what they started.  The songs are not only linked by the fact that the same artist made both of them, they have the N word in the title, but through Malcolm X.  In “N.I.G.G.A.S” Malcolm X is mentioned with a desire to thank him for what he started.  In “Lookin A$$ Nigga” there is an image of Malcolm holding a rifle looking out the window that was released as possible cover art.

There are several conversations that can and should be had based on an analysis of Nicki Minaj’s latest song:

1.       The impact of perceptions of the hierarchy of manhood amongst men and women

2.       The pattern of dysfunctional relationships that often result from women getting together with the types of men that are described in “Lookin A$$ Nigga” as being the real men or according to the song “niggas.”  You can begin this discussion with Destiny Child’s song “Soldier” http://youtu.be/qFJ3VKnwmJw

3.       Our responsibility to properly preserve and acknowledge our history and elders and how the way we treat our history impacts how others outside our race treat our history and icons.

4.       How the narrative of young adults and adults about manhood can validate and promote the narratives that are coming from our youth about manhood. 

5.       A gender based discussion questioning whether the perceived characteristics of beauty and power possessed by Nicki Minaj makes her narrative more accepted and embraced.

For more insightful discussions involving the intersections of Hip-Hop, Culture, Education and Youth check of #HipHopEd on Twitter every Tuesday from 9-10 pm.  Tweet and or search using the hash tag #HipHopEd to participate in the weekly chats.  Follow me on twitter at @tdj6899

Hip-Hop Project Based Learning: Illmatic

nas_illmatic_pv

By Timothy Jones @tdj6899 for #HipHopEd

Imagine in the fall semester of 1992 a group of students are taking a sociology class at a local college in New York City.  The students are having a series of discussions about the impact that project living and drugs can have on behavior and one’s outlook on life.  The Sociology course covered several theories and began with a comparison and contrasting of the sociological and social theories.  The Sociological theory is often based on testable propositions about society and relies on the scientific method in its aim for objectivity.  The Social theory is less concerned with objectivity and more likely to pass normative judgments.  The professor challenged the students to form groups and produce a project that embodies a sociological or social theory approach to answering the following driving question:

What are some of the impacts on children growing up in an inner city that is plagued by the environments of drugs, perceived lack of opportunity and violence that urban educators need to understand?  The students through their project would be providing urban educators various insights into some of the behaviors and perspectives that these young people in their classrooms may have.  The urban educators should be able to use the lessons within the finished project to better understand and engage the youth in their classrooms that are growing up in different urban neighborhoods in New York City and beyond.

A group of students named Nas, Q-Tip, Large Professor, DJ Premiere, L.E.S., Pete Rock and AZ decided to examine their upbringings in Queens and Brooklyn using a social theory approach and write and produce a series of songs that would later be packaged and released in 1994 as Nas’ debut album “Illmatic.”  Here is a closer examination of how “Illmatic” could have been the result of a project based learning assignment given in a sociology class back in the fall semester of 1992.  Buck Institute for Education www.bie.org is a premiere resource for project based learning and they have created an essential checklist for educators to understand the elements that must be present in project based learning.

Looking back, here is how “Illmatic” could have been evaluated based on having the essential elements of project based learning:

1.       Focus on significant content: “Illmatic” is the coming of age story of a young man growing up in New York City during the height of the crack epidemic which ravaged many inner cities across America

2.       Develop 21st Century Competencies: The creation of “Illmatic” featured the collaboration of Nas and a collection of the premiere Hip-Hop producers of the day.  The album communicated a story that spanned an array of emotions in a manner that was deemed acceptable (where often the only acceptable emotion to express is anger) by individuals growing up under the strictest of definition of manhood.  Nas and AZ exhibits creativity and critical thinking as MCs with crafted rhymes that tell stories, embodied figurative language and elevated rhyming standards for MCs that followed for more than a decade.

3.       Engage students in in-depth inquiry: The group held extensive conversations about life growing up in the ghetto and how they felt society at large viewed black and brown youth from the ghetto.  The group consisted of individuals that were experts in their craft who was given the task of cultivating the budding genius that was in the writings of Nasir Jones.

4.       Organize tasks around a driving question: The tasks were designated based on their talents and their ability to contribute their experiences to the following driving question:   What are some of the impacts on children growing up in an inner city that is plagued by the environments of drugs, perceived lack of opportunity and violence that urban educators need to understand?

5.       Establish a need to know: The media’s portrayal of black and brown youth from the inner city during this time frame was very stereotypically and selectively driven; it was critical that a group of young people begin to give firsthand accounts to better inform urban educators who were allowing the media’s portrayal of inner city youth to begin to influence how they engaged these youth in the classroom.

6.        Encourage voice and choice: The students were given the freedom to tell their story in a manner that resonated with themselves and their peers.  The students chose to speak through Hip-Hop and challenged the urban educators to learn on their terms as opposed to writing a standard report or story.

7.       Incorporate revision and reflection: MC Serch served as the Executive Producer of “Illmatic” and was in charge of reviewing the songs with the Artists and Producers to ensure that the best final product possible was put out to the masses.

8.       Include a public audience: The finished album was released on April 19, 1994 after singles were released and one song featured on a movie soundtrack.  The project received the coveted 5 microphone evaluation from The Source magazine, which at the time was the premiere source of Hip-Hop journalism.

For more insights as to how Hip-Hop can be used as a tool for effective Project Based Learning check out the following video http://bie.org/object/video/keep_it_real and join our weekly #HipHopEd chat every Tuesday from 9-10 pm EST.

“I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death. Beyond the walls of intelligence (schools) life is defined “- Nas, New York State of Mind

Love Is

Essay published in “Souls of My Brothers” by Timothy Jones, 2003

I consider myself a good fair person. I did my best not to initiate ill feelings towards people, but I never wanted to be taken advantage of either. I would do my best not to carry hate in my heart because that would end up hurting me more than the person I held the hate for. I also had to realize that in some instances I wasn’t a very forgiving person. This was my sentiment towards my father. My father had been very inconsistent in my life and after a painful reunion with him and my brothers in 1991 I vowed that the next time I saw him he wouldn’t know I was there because he would be dead and I would be paying my respects. My mother just told to make sure that I was not harboring any hate towards him in my heart because that would be bad for my spirit. With this is mind I became numb to my father and lived as if he did not exist. I had other men in my life that were positive and embraced me as a son so I figured I was better off without him anyway.

Now let’s fast forward a few years to November 8, 1995. It is my dad’s birthday and I’m in my room writing poetry listening to “Stairway to Heaven” by the OJay’s. I began to think about my dad and the fact that it was his birthday and I couldn’t call him even if for some strange reason I wanted to because I didn’t have his number. For some odd reason in thinking about my dad on this day it brought on various emotions that hit me hard in an instant. I felt as the shell around my heart was being peeled back and I was seeing the vibrant pain that had been covered still was there. I began to think about the moments in my life that happened without my dad and I began to cry. I tried to stop the tears but that was useless. With the song playing in the background I rose from my table where I had been writing and began to talk out loud to God and my Dad because at this moment I was upset at both of them. I was upset at my Dad for doing this to me and God for doing this to me. Here’s how the conversation went:

Tim:
I don’t understand why I feel this way. I can’t believe I’m crying thinking about someone who is not thinking about me. Dad why am I missing you? You don’t deserve to be missed, no not for a second do you deserve to be missed by me! You probably didn’t even think about me on my birthday and I’m sitting crying because I can’t wish you happy birthday on yours. Lord what is wrong with me? Why am caring for someone who has done me so wrong? I feel like a punk because I am playing myself by getting emotional about a man who I haven’t seen or heard from in years. What would he think if he could see my tears? WHAT WOULD HE THINK IF HE COULD SEE MY TEARS! Me crying for my father is like watering the ground without first planting a seed and expecting something to grow. There is no seed of love in my heart for my father so all I’m creating is mud. I am a man who has made it this far without him so lord please take this pain away so I can continue on without him. My heart says that I miss him, I want him, but that is crazy because he has done nothing for me so why in the world would I still want him. He doesn’t want me because he is living his life fine. It was me who came to see him in 1991 and got the cold shoulder so why lord, why are you doing this to me? Take away this pain from me and let this moment pass. LORD SET ME FREE FROM THE THOUGHTS OF MY FATHER and please let my love to flow to those that deserve it and who will give it back!

I stop speaking and focused on the song which was the part which says “step by step.” The song is talking about taking steps towards heaven and being with God.

In my silence God spoke to me:

Do you understand that you are asking me to take away love? You want me to take away the same type of love that I have for you and my people. For all of my people have fallen short of deserving my love and I give love them that is everlasting. When did you decide that you had a choice in deciding who and how you should love? Do you think that my love for you is merit based; my favor perhaps, but my love never! I stand with my hands stretched out to a people that I died for and yet I feel the winds of time across my palm because they refuse to hold on to me and if they came to me in this moment I would love them as if they never left me. How else will a people see my love unless they see it in those that they can see that profess my name? You loving your father is worshiping and bringing honor to my name. So do this in honor of me and I too shall honor you! Until you love your father and stretch out your hand to him neither one of you will ever be free. The walk of the righteous is not steps taken when earned they are steps taken in love and service. For one day when you have a child what example will you be if you can not love the one that you call father.

I felt that I was doing well no thanks to my father being around. I also felt that since I was grown he couldn’t hurt me anymore. My Mother has always been a rock in my life so I convinced myself that I really had no ill effects from the dysfunctional relationship that I had with my Dad. I was never more wrong about anything in my life. I never knew what a healthy relationship between a man and woman was because my dad wasn’t there to show me. I was blessed to have four older brothers but I had to pick pieces and come up with a definition of manhood from watching them grow up because my dad wasn’t there. I dealt with the pressure of having to prove manhood through the acquisition of women because my dad believed that I would be gay because I was so close to my mother. The worst part of this is that I never was able to talk to anyone while I was going through my late teens and twenties about this because I didn’t know what I know now about myself. If everyone tells you that you are o.k. after a while you believe it to the point where you hide your pain because no one gives you room to acknowledge it.

There I was a shamble of myself but still believing that I was the man because through all my up and downs I still had women around. Women were my security blanket and my self-esteem. Women filled voids that I believed didn’t exist and the voids were there part in parcel because of my lack of a relationship with my dad. My lowest point which lead to my emancipation came when my security blanket was taken away from me and I had to see myself by myself and I didn’t like what I saw. I was living as my father without even realizing it. I was carrying his unmarked baggage and actually put my clothes in it and labeled the baggage as my own.

With no where to turn and feeling like the prodigal son I went to my true father, Jesus Christ. I repented and pleaded for a plan for my life and the wisdom to be able to know that it was Jesus speaking and not myself fooling myself. I was at that point where I let go because I had nothing to hold on to and let Jesus become the center of my life. That is when love 101 began and I have been studying the course ever since. I no longer practice accounting I am a Director of a Teen Program for a community based organization in Washington, DC called Martha’s Table. The Lord took me from the high office downtown to the fields in the neighborhood to tend to his harvest. I have been doing his work now for almost seven years and he has lifted me to heights I didn’t see possible in my former life. Jesus is a love that can not be measured because it is as infinite as his power. When I think it can’t get any better it does; when I think that I am worthy, I repent because I am not or will ever be. This lesson has given me the strength to begin to love.

When I look at my life now all I can see if love. I see love in the struggle to show my teens God’s love through everything that I do. I see love when I get to enter into the Lord’s house to fellowship and to worship and give praise with my family. When I look at my family I see Jesus because as he pulled me out and dusted me off and began to teach me love he blessed with a family to grow with. My wife is someone whom I went to high school with and was in the same homeroom for four years and was more of a sister because here maiden name was Jones. When I went to my ten year reunion in hopes of continuing my quest for women, the Lord put Vanessa in my tracks and my life has never been the same. At the time I met Vanessa again at our ten year reunion she had a five year old daughter name Jasmine. We met August 23, 1996 and were married August 22, 1998.

The message the Lord spoke to me on that day while I was crying out to him about my father was brought to fruition on July 8, 1999. My birthday is July 8th and on this birthday morning my wife gave birth to my son, Isaiah Jeremiah Ezra Jones. After all that I had done to fall so short but yet God’s love and mercy was upon me and better yet his favor was upon me and my wife by blessing us with a son. I cried many times since the birth of Isaiah because when he was born my prayer was that he would bring my family back together. As a teenager without my father I always prayed for a son so that I could have the father-son relationship that I never had. I promised to love my son the way he was supposed to be loved. The problem was that without Jesus in my life I wasn’t ready to love myself let alone my son. But in God’s timing everything works to bring glory and honor to him.

I now proclaim my manhood as being defined by my walk for Jesus. Jesus is everything and he is my measurement and the word of God is my instruction book. I know what love is now and I am reunited with my Father. I have forgiven him because Jesus has forgiven me. I love my father because Jesus loves me. I now speak to my father and attempt to be a comfort for him because Jesus has comforted me.

Through the love of Jesus I can see that my father was a victim of his own circumstance and he had his own baggage that he hadn’t healed from. My dad is sixty-one years old and is raising his fifteen year old son. Jesus has given him the opportunity to get it right with his son the way Jesus has given me the same opportunity with mine. My dad calls me some time and because I work with teenagers, he will ask me for advice. I talk to him about my family and I know that he is happy to finally have a grandson. There’s no greater testimony than love, there’s no greater gift because that is what Jesus is. LOVE!

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12

Timothy D. Jones
Tdj6899@gmail.com

This piece is dedicated to Jesus my father and Isaiah my son!

Copyright 2002 beatoflife

The Words I Never Said

“Its so loud inside my head with words I should’ve said.” Lupe Fiasco

Music has a way of pulling the triggers of your mind and heart.  Once the trigger is pulled what comes out is what was in your mind and heart before the song began. So did the music influence your thoughts and feelings or did it just wake the sleeping giants inside of you?  This song pulled some triggers inside my head and heart and these are the words I never said:

1. I am a Christian who follows Jesus Christ and believes the bible is the true and living word of God.  The actions of the collective church have diluted the perception and reverence that the world has towards God and Christ. This makes it  more of a necessity to distinguish myself from a “Sunday Saint” or someone who believes in God but not the bible.  I am an imperfect man seeking perfection through God’s Holy Spirit residing inside of me.

2. Attempting to use Hip-Hop music and culture to teach or do anything else doesn’t make you Hip-Hop or a part of the culture.  Hip-Hop music and culture is being accepted in circles of academia because of the catastrophic failure of traditional education to remain relevant and engaging to its core audience within inner cities across America and beyond.  I’m not questioning the sincerity of an individual educator or writer, but the collective establishment’s embracing the culture and deeming their own colleagues the experts.  Ask yourself if Hip-Hop was no longer as popular and another music genre drove popular culture would you still be looking to use and or participate with Hip-Hop?

3. There must be a space created for men to feel and heal. Society has raised us to embrace the ideology that states that anger is the only acceptable emotion to express without a questioning of your manhood.  Think of the adjective we place in front of love, I got mad love for you. Think of the violent slang terms that describe making love or having sex? It has gotten so bad amongst young men that they will start a statement with “no homo” to say or do anything that expresses an emotion.  We need the space and methodology to heal in order to be real with ourselves and others.

4. The love, commitment, and passion that I have for my people should not be viewed as racist, prejudice, or radical.  Multi-Culturalism and diversity doesn’t always mean equality because all cultures or parties are not coming to the table of brotherhood as equal partners. The causes for the collective can not overshadow my commitment to the causes that disproportionately impact my people of color.

5. Hip-Hop is constantly being analyzed but rarely evaluated.  There was a value within Hip-Hop that is not as needed today or is it?  In the beginning as Hip-Hop came on the scene, it was responsible for speaking for a community that hadn’t had the opportunity to speak and be heard to society as a whole.  We need to create a system to evaluate today’s Hip-Hop and stop merely debating various analysis of the content.  What is the value of the content of many of today’s most popular Hip-Hop songs is the true question.

 THINK To Hear Is New Knowledge! Can You Hear the Words that I Write?