Jay Z hit back at critics of his Tidal streaming service, and took shots at YouTube, Spotify and Apple in an epic freestyle rap at an intimate show in New York.
The music mogul put on a blistering “B-sides” show with a band for 3,000 fans at Terminal 5 Saturday. Jay told the crowd, “So I’m the bad guy now I hear, because I don’t go with the flow,” and unleashed a rap that hit on music titans including Jimmy Iovine, who is relaunching Beats Music with Apple, and Pharrell Williams.
Jay said, “I’m never gonna go with the flow, I’m never gonna let nobody take over our music . . . This Tidal thing is all about the music. We gonna preserve the music, we ain’t gonna let nobody take our music. We ain’t gonna let nobody offer our music up and do what the f - - k they wanna do.”
Insisting that he and Tidal are taking a stand so the money and control goes back to the artists, Jay launched into his freestyle, “I don’t need no middle man to talk to my n–gas . . . 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.”
He continued, “I feel like YouTube is the biggest culprit. Them n–gas pay you a tenth of what you supposed to get. You know n–gas die for equal pay, right? You know when I work I ain’t your slave, right?”
In response to criticism that his streaming service is helping rich artists get richer, Jay rapped, “You know I came into this game independent, right? Tidal, my own lane, same difference. Oh n–gas is skeptical as their own s–t. You bought nine iPhones, and Steve Jobs is rich. Phil Knight worth trillions you still bought those kicks. Spotify is 9 million they ain’t say s–t.”
Hinting critics are racist in singling out Tidal, he added enemies are also spending millions to destroy it: “You got some explaining to do. The only one they hating on look the same as you. I know they trying to bamboozle you. Spending millions on media trying to confuse you. I had to talk to myself, Hov get used to it. It’s politics as usual.”
Those taking in the show of B-sides and rare remixes, along with a Roc-A-Fella reunion with Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel, plus a tribute to the late B.B. King, were Amar’e Stoudemire, Geno Smith, Chris Rock, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde.
Warning: Explicit language