Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Young Men's Games

Jay-Z rather famously declared rap a “young man’s game” before “retiring.” I’m guessing, of course, his opinion has changed now that he’s back making music, but how? It’s almost an end-of-history type question: what to rap about but young man’s subjects? It’s too hard to tell, but judging by these two songs, it’s memories of being a young man:

The mood is different for each: the former is regretful; the latter nostalgic, but each seek to recreate what it was to be young and the vitality of that time. In that way the genre itself works for the song: the beats in each song are subdued but kind of remind you of more sprightly beats of the party songs, which is the mood, expressed musically.

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