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Decoding Jay-Z’s “Paradise” Verse: “It Can Relate to Everybody”

Vandal Arts September 10, 2012 0


The 11-day Paralympics in London received a rousing send-off when Jay-Z took the stage during Coldplay’s performance. Jay spat a new verse on their track “Paradise” and surprised the crowd, asit lent support for the disabled community. Afterward, Hov took to his website to explain the verse:

“The thought behind the verse is, anyone with a disability, just wants a sense of normality – that’s why they’re competing in these games. That was the idea to make the verse as inclusive for as many people, and to make it as normal as possible.It’s influenced by so many different things. There are parts that are influenced by Gabby Douglas, there are parts that are influenced by Ryan Lochte and by Serena Williams. It can relate to everybody. ‘You can take everything,’ means whether through some tragedy you lost a limb, like an arm or a leg. Or, it could be something like you lost the mortgage to your house. That’s pretty much the idea.”

And if this doesn’t leave you garnering more respect for the rapper, the recent New York Times feature might. The pseudo-profile is an intellectual and analytical breakdown of rap through the maturing eyes of Jay-Z, arguably the music biz number one music supplier. Entitled “The House That Hova Built,” author Zadie Smith sits down with the self-proclaimed “greatest rapper alive” as he sensibly connects the dots between the hip hop and politics of today.

Read the entire “Paradise” verse and some key quotes from the NYTimes story after the jump…

Coldplay feat. Jay-Z-”Paradise” (Remix):
I deserve a gold medal, get on my level/
I deserve platinum plaques, to match my bezel/
I walk around with five rings, so pimpish/
Welcome to the Paralympics/
It’s paradise, this is the story of Gabby/
It’s paradise, it’s paradise/
Tears in her eyes, she sacrificed, he sacrificed, she paid the price/
This is everything, everything she ever dreamed/
She had nightmares she wouldn’t be here, she made the team/
From the projects to the podium, accepting awards with my Rollie on/
Gettin’ Gold medals with my grill in/
C-walking, cause all they see is a villain/
More belts than Phelps, Merry Christmas, my presence is felt/
Gold medals around my throat/
You can take everything, except the hope of reaching paradise.

Standout Quotes from ‘The House That Hova Built:’

“I’ve said the election of Obama has made the hustler less relevant… People took it in a way that I was almost dismissing what I am. And I was like: no, it’s a good thing!”

“No one came to our neighborhoods, with stand-up jobs, and showed us there’s a different way. Maybehad I seen different role models, maybe I’d’ve turned on to that.”

“I didn’t have enough life experience, so what I was doing was more technical. I was trying to impress technically. To do things that other people cannot do. Like, you can’t do this” — insert beat-box and simultaneous freestyle here — “you just can’t do that.”

“As I started getting life experiences, I realized my power was in conveying emotions that people felt.”

“I think the reason I still make music is because of the challenge.”

“Before, if you didn’t have that authenticity, your career could be over. Vanilla Ice said he got stabbed or something, they found out he was lying, he was finished… I think hip-hop has moved away from that place of everything has to be authentic. Kids are growing up very differently now.”

“People have a real aversion to what people in power did to the country. So they’re just lashing out, like: ‘This is the son that you made. Look at your son. Look at what you’ve done.’ ”

“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1 percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”

On Blue Ivy: “She doesn’t have to be tough. She has to love herself, she has to know who she is, she has to be respectful, and be a moral person.”


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