On Saturday, Jay Z performed the first of two nights of his B-sides shows exclusively for Tidal subscribers. He performed the classics, reunited with Beanie Sigel and the rest of Roc-A-Fella Records’ State Property, and brought out Jay Electronica and Jeezy. But in case the corporate sponsorship — though it is Jay Z’s own corporation, to be fair — was lost on anyone in the crowd, Hov also did a rare freestyle in which he attempted to shame us all for glamorizing Apple, YouTube, and Spotify while giving Tidal the cold shoulder. Here’s a full transcript of the freestyle:
And I don’t need no middle man to talk to my niggas
I understand if you don’t understand, I figure I’m Jigga
That’s where we differ
I take what’s mine, you accept what they give ya, I get ya
I don’t take no checks, I take my respect
Pharrell even told me go with the safest bet
Jimmy Iovine offered a safety net
Google dangled around a crazy check
I feel like YouTube was the biggest culprit
Them niggas pay you a tenth of what you’re supposed to get
You know niggas die for equal pay right?
You know when I work I ain’t ya slave right?
You know I ain’t shuckin’ and jivin’ and hi-fivin’
You know this ain’t back in the days, right?
Well I can’t tell [by] the way they killed Freddie Gray, right?
Shot down Mike Brown, how they did Tray, right?
Let ‘em continue choking niggas
We gonna turn style (turnstile), I ain’t ya token nigga
You know I came in this game independent right?
Tidal, my own label, same difference
Oh, niggas is skeptical when it’s their own shit
You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich
Phil Knight is worth millions, you still bought them kicks
Spotify is nine million, they ain’t say shit
Lucy you got some esplainin’ to do
The only one they hatin’ on looks the same as you
That’s cool, I know they tryin’ to bamboozle you
Spendin’ millions on me to try to confuse you
I had to talk to myself, Hov you should be used to it
It’s politics as usual.
His advice for the skeptics: “Don’t go with the flow, be the flow.” And while guilt-tripping blacks for not supporting black-owned businesses probably isn’t the smartest marketing move, some of Hov’s points are hard to argue with. More of this, please.