You've probably seen the current issue of Rolling Stone with Jay-Z on the cover. Here's an interesting pull from his interview:
It seems the man who made his name rhyming about hustling and hos in
Brooklyn's Marcy Projects is actually more comfortable around an
unlikely new crowd: indie rockers. "I love the energy coming out indie
rock right now," he says, name-checking Grizzly Bear. "It has this
rebellion thing that hip-hop is missing now, the thing that made hip-hop
Even Jay-Z is admitting that hip hop has lost its bite. I certainly don't think it's going away, but it's clearly no longer exerts the cultural gravity that it once did. Glad he's recognized this, but I wish he'd stop name-checking Grizzly Bear, and shout out some bands who could really use a shot, artists like Tamar-Kali, Game Rebellion, or BLK JKS. But that's just me.
And, I know it sounds a little schizo: On one hand, I'm happy when black artists keep themselves open to other sounds and influences. In that regard, Jay's just shouting out a band he likes. What's more, his shouting them out has probably influenced some black kids somewhere to check them out, thus turning them onto other sonic possibilities. On the other, if you're the "king of America", use that position and influence to help some deserving artists of color. That's the kind of affirmative action I believe in. As of this writing, Grizzly Bear is scheduled to play Glastonbury later this month. With or without Jay's co-sign, they'll be fine.
Hat tip to Mark Armstrong for the heads-up.