Jay-Z: A History — in 60 seconds
The first thing said was all that needed to be said: “Jay-Z fans get it.”
I could/should leave it at that, but I can’t. Music like that comes from Roc Nation — no doubt; but advertising like that, well, I must begrudgingly tip my hat to the corporate behemoth Live Nation — per usual brilliant integrated campaigns (creative, distribution, publishing, marketing, etc.). In 60 seconds, this commericial is a mini-epic overlaying all of Hov’s past albums over his latest track. Time seems to stop for longer than a moment with each album cover pose, but in the big scheme of things it is very indicative of “now:” no words, just visuals, a summary with little or no explanation, if you get it — like Jay-Z fans — you get it, if not — get it off Rhapsody, Hov killed Auto-tune but he is a product of what that technology represents. As he pays homage to his past — in a classic Jay-Z egocentric maneuver, laying out his own discography as the true history of all real rap, which to some extent he is — he does so in a way that fits the modern mold. He pares down whole albums to a snapshot, he turns a discography into photography, but it works.
Watch this space: The Black Album was Jay-Z’s highly touted retirement; three albums later Hov is rising again — in the wake of 9/11, after killing auto-tune, after encapsulating his past works, Shawn is coming back — but note that the 3rd Blueprint is the first cover without Mr. Carter’s face. Now, it’s about the music first. (Well, on the surface at least. Again, LiveNation is pushing Jay-Z’s face time hcore: commercials like this, press conferences, concerts, etc. Which work for Madonna and U2, but tis a bit different for Shawn “Renegade” Carter)