Mitt Romney and Jay-Z have a lot in common.
Like Jay-Z, whose widely considered to be the most influential and important figure in Hip Hop today, Mitt Romney is currently the front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination. In fact, like Jay-Z, he’s been the de facto “front runner” in the race for a while now.
And like Jay-Z, Mitt Romney continues to hold onto this position for no good reason at all. And probably won’t be holding onto it for long.
While speaking before a fairly hostile crowd in Iowa yesterday, Mitt Romney said something really, really funny. Asked by an attendee why he (and the GOP in general) oppose raising taxes on the wealthy in the name of deficit reduction (even though a vast majority of Americans support this), Romney responded:
“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings my friend.”
The raucous crowd responded with a mixture of boos and laughter, and the left-wing media has been yammering about it ever since. Because with such a comment, Mitt Romney has shattered any illusions whatsoever that he’s a “down to earth” kind of guy (which is the holy grail of political p.r.). When you’re sitting on that kind of paper, it’s hard to identify with the perspective of the common man. Mitt is simply an out-of-touch-with-the-masses millionaire, striving desperately for their support.
I doubt he understands the plight of the underprivileged. And I’m not sure if he likes Black people, either. But if he’s a Hip Hop fan, I bet he’ll love Watch The Throne.
You see, no one seems to actually like Mitt Romney anymore. Sure, he’s bankable and he’s reliable. And he looks the part. And he’ll (usually) say the right things. He’s incredibly wealthy and well-connected. He’s also fairly smart, and still pretty good at his job. But you need more than that to be elected President. People have to be inspired by their chosen candidate. They have to feel like their candidate is at that podium speaking to them. Speaking for them. Michelle Bachmann might be a fucking psycho, but her supporters are enthusiastic and steadfast because they genuinely feel a connection with her. They are inspired by Michelle Bachmann, for better or for worse.
No one feels that way about Mitt Romney. And I doubt anyone truly feels that way about Jay-Z, either. (C’mon, who genuinely liked The Blueprint 3?)
And that’s what stands out to me the most about Watch The Throne. Like Romney’s Presidential profile, everything seems perfectly aligned on the surface. We have Kanye West, fresh off the best album of his career, bringing his particular artistic and self-absorbed flair to the proceedings. No shock there. And they’ve enlisted names like Q-Tip, RZA and Swizz Beats to handle co-production. Musically, the results are absolutely stunning. Phenomenal beats, from top to bottom.
And yet Jay-Z has absolutely nothing of consequence to say whatsoever. I’ve read review after review praising Jigga’s lyrical offerings on Watch The Throne this past week, and yet I can’t for the life of me find one worthwhile quotable from him that doesn’t reek of self-worship, self-pity or, like Romney, a complete and utter lack of self-awareness. Even when the subject matter expands outside the confines of so-called “luxury rap,” it always feels like Jay is just rapping to himself in the mirror; a mirror framed in gold and encrusted in diamonds, to be specific.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Jay and Mitt, though. Romney’s got a batshit Bachmann on one side of him and a ravenous Rick Perry on the other. And Jigga’s contending with crazed insurgents in Odd Future and Lil B to the left, while Drake and Weezy are gaining on his right. It can’t be easy. It’s not Jay-Z’s fault that being over 40 and caked beyond recognition changes how you relate to the every day young person during a prolonged economic crisis.
Mitt might actually be right; perhaps corporations are people. But Watch The Throne teaches us that sometimes this works in reverse. Sometimes people are like corporations.
Because on Watch The Throne, Jay-Z is about as relatable as Exxon Mobile. And to a longtime fan like myself, that’s really fucking depressing.