06 October 2002

the metempsychosis of tupac shakur: following tupac's passing, the race was on as to who would be the new tupac. an early contender was dmx because he was raw; his music belied his east coast roots; and he was often seen shirtless. he also had the dubious task of resurrecting steven seagal's film career with exit wounds. the co-star of seagal's lastest movie is the next in line for the tupac crown: ja rule. like dmx, he has a penchant for toplessness; unlike dmx, the ladies love him for his vulnerability. ja rule's problem, though, is that he's far too eager to please. for sho', tupac wouldn't have done a j-lo duet unless he was poking her, and so the search continues.

the least likely person to inherit the role, particularly given his fealty to his boro and his kinship with biggie, is jay-z. and yet the new jay-z single, "me and my girlfriend," is "me and my girlfriend" by tupac, d.b.a. makaveli. the beat is the same, the chorus is the same -- well, almost: beyonce sings the second line of the chorus which, in the original, went "down to ride to the bloody end." it doesn't go that way anymore. i have no idea how one begins to credit this thing. (for one, i suppose, there'll be a writing credit for prince, whose "if i was your girlfriend" is interpolated near the end -- a jay-z addition to the original. )

on the heels of common's "i used to love h.e.r." rappers nationwide begin introducing metaphor to their rhymes. so in pac's version, "me and my girlfriend" is about his 9mm; jay-z takes the literal route and makes it about his sex shooter, his girl. rumor has it that jay is poking beyonce, to the, one can only imagine, great consternation of matthew knowles. jay-z has his thuggish side, as we all know, and even his misogynistic side, but here he offers some tenderness: "the problem is you dudes treat the one that you're lovin' with the same respect that you treat the one that you're fuckin'." he even talks about watching sex & the city!

virility, ruggedness, and sensitivity: jay-z states his case as heir to both biggie and pac.

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