Hip Hop in a Dad blog?
I appreciate that hip-hop music (just like any other art form) isn't for everybody. I appreciate that many of my readers won't even listen to Jay Z, let alone have rushed out to buy his new album Magna Carter Holy Grail this week; And thats fine, but I did. I've listened to Jay Z since my early teenage years and have watched hip hop music openly mature in recent times. The new release from the self proclaimed Michael Jordan of rap is a solid addition to his ever expanding, record breaking discology, despite being a little predictable. The one thing I didn't expect to come from giving the LP its first few plays however, was inspiration to blog here... in a blog dedicated to parenting of all things.
In January 2012, worldwide superstar Beyonce (Jay Z's wife) gave birth to their first daughter, Blue Ivy. The new album gives us a track titled 'Jay Z Blue' where he raps about his anxieties as both a father and a husband. He shows himself to be slightly vulnerable, paranoid, fearful… somewhat of a rarity for this man and his often egotistical music. In fact, his lyrics in this track make him easier to relate to now in my opinion; they make him seem more real. I mean who'd have thought that this multi millionaire, successful musician and business man; this global icon and internationally recognised megastar would have the same emotions, worries and doubts about parenthood as we do?
(Daddy Jay Z and his daughter Blue Ivy)
Throughout the track he touches on his daughter and the way she makes him feel;
"My baby getting chubby
Cue that Stevie Wonder music, aww isn't she lovely"
"Out in Paris on a terrace watching the Eiffel Tower
And a Ferris wheel, yet and still, nothing could prepare us
For the beauty that you be, Blue be."
What Father isn't in awe of the beauty of their child? What Father doesn't marvel at the seemingly impossible perfection that he helped create?
The track isn't all positive and mushy though. He later raps;
"Looking in your eyes is like a mirror
Have to face my fears"
This is a lyric that is surprisingly open, honest and touches on a darker emotion that often remains unmentioned. I'm sure that all Dads have worried and been in fear of actually being a Father. And not all of those Fathers have been as strong as Jay Z is saying he is working to be. Many haven't stayed to face their fears! Many haven't faced their emotions and met them with courage. Jay Z's very own Father in fact walked out on him and left his Mother to raise him alone.
Towards the end of the track he raps;
“Now I got my own daughter
Taught her how to take her first steps
Cut the cord watch her take her first breath
And I’m trying and I’m lying if I said I wasn’t scared“
What Father that was present at his child's birth and is the regular feature he should be in his child's life cannot relate to those lyrics? I know for myself, as a new Dad… I have to try incredibly hard. I'm on a steep learning curve and am hugely fearful of failing. A lot of men bottle up their emotions though, and Dad groups aren't anything like as popular as Mum groups, so it's nice to quietly realise you're not alone just by plugging your headphones in and pushing play.
(The album cover for Jay Z's latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail)
I think it's comforting to see someone so famous be open about his own paranoia of not being a great Dad. I think it's a great thing to be representing Fatherhood for all that it is (both positive and negative). If you didn't buy the album yet… then go cop it. Support other Dads! I'm just playing… he doesn't need you to. It went platinum without you! No really. Buy it!