Jay Z is not only one of the most talented rappers to ever pick up a mic, but he’s also one of the most calculated. This makes public missteps almost a rarity for the music icon. But nobody’s perfect, and even Hovi Hov has had some misfires during his illustrious career.
Mr. Carter’s moments of disconnection are far and few between, but still present nonetheless. Let’s take a look at a few occasions where Jay may have overestimated his influence, or simply played the wrong hand for all to witness.
Jay Tries To Give Timberlands The Boot
Remember when everybody abruptly stopped wearing athletic jerseys, simply because Jay said so on “Change Clothes?” Back in 2009 Jay attempted to kill off another hip-hop fashion fave — Timberland boots. On The Blueprint 3 track “Off That” featuring Drake, the young Canadian spits on the hook “Cris we off that, Timbs we off that.” The only problem is the streets never took heed, and even Jay eventually went back to rocking Timbs like nothing ever happened.
The Album Do-Over Nobody Asked For
R. Kelly’s highly controversial court case overshadowed the release of Best of Both Worlds album. After the singer was found not guilty on all charges, Hov and The R. decided to give their dynamic duo aspirations one more try with 2004’s Unfinished Business. Not only was the album an unnecessary release, but controversy would once again spoil all plans; thanks to the infamous pepper spray incident.
“I’m A Hustler Homie, You’re A Customer Crony”
When Jay tells you he’s a hustler, he’s not just saying it because it sounds good. The man knows how capitalism works and in 2011 at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement; Rocawear unleashed their “Occupy All Streets” tees. Backlash came swiftly when word got out that none of the proceeds from shirt’s sales would go towards the Occupy movement. The tees were later pulled from the Rocawear website, never to be seen again.
Jay is notorious for not paying his critics any mind; sometimes not even responding until years later. But when the legendary Harry Belafonte called out the Carters for their lack of involvement on social issues, Jay responded with a statement that claimed “my presence is charity.” The rapper would also briefly address the matter on the Magna Carta Holy Grail track, “Nickles & Dimes.” Either way, it was probably just best to leave the entire matter alone and respect the elder.
The Barneys One Percenter Sale
$1,000 t-shirt, $875 leather baseball hat, $2,590 leather shorts — these were just some of the items featured in Jay Z’s holiday collection for Barney’s back in 2013. Controversy threatened the launch of the collection, after racial profiling reports involving the high end retailer surfaced. The collection eventually rolled out and snatched well over $1 million in profit; with most of the proceeds going to charity. At least this out of touch moment was for a good cause.
Tidal itself is a grand idea, but how that idea was introduced to the public? Not so grand. Jay recruited the biggest names in music to stand with him in solidarity, as creatives fight for a bigger piece of the streaming pie. The only problem — the press conference really didn’t convey that message. Instead, the public felt as if the rich were just asking to get richer. The public scrutiny was so bad; Jay did something that he almost never does — tweet.