God As My Witness, Time, It Was My Mistress
Those not heavy on the Internet may not be aware of Jay-Z’s new website, Life and Times. It’s a dope web space so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Just the other day, the site posted a brand new song by Sade featuring Jay-Z. The song, entitled “The Moon and The Sky (Remix)”, is one of three new songs featured on Sade’s two-disc greatest hits compilation, The Ultimate Collection.
When I first heard Jay-Z’s verse, I wasn’t blown away, but I was intrigued. The most obvious thing I heard was a guest eager to make an impression. I believe this is Sade’s first and only collaboration with a hip-hop artist, and Jay sounded like he was aware this type of collaboration was a milestone in his career so digging up one of those old rhymes in his head wouldn’t cut it. He has a brief 16, but he goes for it here.
For whatever reason, probably because I’m easily distracted, I didn’t give “The Moon And The Sky (Remix)” repeated listens, but I told myself I would revisit it later. Like I said, I heard something in Jay’s verse that deserved deeper analysis.
Today as I was surfing Life and Times for updated posts, I saw a transcript of his verse posted. Before I read, I listened again, and though I was pretty clear on all that he said, I knew reading the words would give his verse the deeper meaning I was seeking. I mean, listening to it, I could hear this was about some sort of relationship, but what was the line that was going to stick out to me most?
I finally found it (hint: it’s the title of the post) when I read the transcription, which I’ve put in this post. The rhymes here were decoded, I’m assuming by a fan, and the editors of the site took the liberty of posting it. Seeing the words written out definitely elevated the verse’s meaning for me (though I do believe whoever decoded this made one crucial mistake: The last line isn’t meant to be “beautiful son” but rather “beautiful sun”, but I digress). Not to say the verse is deep, more like spot-on to the nature of some men who fail to commit simply because they’re too afraid of missing out on something better.
Once I read it and listened to it a couple more times, I chuckled to myself because I thought about how in college and even some years after college, a lot of Jay-Z’s lyrics were incorporated in the spiels I would give about my dating or relationship philosophies. This is why he remains to this day one of my favorite rappers, not because of the body of his work (though it is strong) but for the way he could express things so well, I could adopt those expressions into whatever I was saying and not be laughed at or discredited.
I don’t make Jay-Z references nearly as much as I used to, but this verse reminded me, he can still write a verse that makes me say, “Damn, ain’t that the truth.” Time has been my mistress more times than I care to admit and it has resulted in some consequences I never thought possible. And thinking “What if” drives us all crazy, along with the rest of the questions we ask ourselves, until we realize even though we did not get what we wanted, we certainly got what we needed.