Conflict and Confrontation Can Make a Bond Unbreakable (Part 1)

jay-z(hova) –  coming of age (da sequel) (featuring memphis bleek)

In “Coming of Age (Da Sequel)” Jay and Bleek continues the criminal underworld story, which highlights the mentor/protégé relationship. In the original “Coming of Age” off the Reasonable Doubt album, Bleek is a young hustler, hungry to succeed in the drug game but lacks direction. Jay, a smart, experienced and successful hustler schools Bleek and makes him apart of his enterprise. Fast forward to the “Da Sequel”, Jay and Bleek are both very successful in their criminal enterprise but a confrontation is looming when Bleek begins to develop animosity toward Jay. This is a dynamic that often occurs in mentor/protégé relationships, business partnerships, friendships and families.

I decided to include Bleek’s lyrics as part of the analysis because this song is really a great example of intriguing thoughts, conversation and confrontation all in one musical collaboration.

This song received A LOT of play in my ride when “Vol 2… Hard Knock Life” came out.


[Bleek] Cocaine whiter now
[Jay-Z] Operation is sweet
[Bleek] Whole game tighter now
[Jay-Z] Moving a brick a week
[Bleek] Plus a nigga price is down
[Jay-Z] We them niggas to see
[Bleek] Time to start the arisin now
[Jay-Z] I don’t know what’s wrong with Bleek

It seems, I’m like Keenan, pickin up on the vibe
that he ain’t too happy, I could just see it in his eyes
I don’t know if it’s the chicks or how we dividin the loot
Time to pay his ass a visit ‘fore he decide to get cute
Jumped out like a star with the flavest car
Matchin the gator shirt, softer than my next door neighbors
These young niggaz think I fell out the loop
cause the last time they seen me hoppin, out the Coupe
I hopped out in a suit

[Memphis Bleek]
Look at this nigga Jay frontin tryin to take my shine
I didn’t say this verbally, just had some shit on my mind
Plus I’m puffin like an ounce, more than I used to puff
Takin advice from these niggaz but they ain’t used to stuff
They had me thinkin, “Shit, I’m the one that moved the stuff
while he drive around town in brand new Coupe’s and stufF”
Swear to God, they had me practically hatin his guts
As he approached I spoke, “Jigga whattup?”

Chorus: Memphis Bleek

I done came up (uhh)
Put my life on the line (uhh)
Soaked the game up (yeah)
Now it’s my time to shine
Time to change up (what?)
No more second in line
Nine-eight, these streets is mine

“Coming of Age (Da Sequel)”
Vol 2… Hard Knock Life
Jay-Z featuring Memphis Bleek

It seems as if Jay is Bleek’s supplier and they’re both making money. If you remember on the original “Coming of Age”, Bleek was hustling backwards, being reckless and irresponsible and had bad judgment. But since he’s been down with Jay, Bleek’s game is tighter, he’s become wiser and more experienced and his astuteness of Jay’s guidance has paid off.

Jay and Bleek are both doing well, so, all is good, right?

Well, Bleek states that at this point, he thinks it’s “time to start the arising”. Bleek is ready to take control of his hustle. He’s been under Jay’s wing and had success but now he wants to makes his mark on the game and rise to the top.

At this point in the song (and story) Bleek has certain thoughts in his head but haven’t yet expressed his feelings to Jay or took action. This is actually typical in a mentor/protégé relationship. It’s the “natural cycle” of this kind of relationship.

The student will learn a great deal from the teacher and start to feel like he can move forward and upward without the teacher’s continued guidance and support.

The follower will only walk behind the leader for so long before he feels that he’s ready to lead or move ahead in a completely different direction.

While this dynamic is normal in relationships of this type, it can cause tension particularly when both parties are involved in certain “industries” such as the illicit drug trade. The skates are high. The nature of the drug trade is fertile ground for confrontation that can often turn deadly.

The seeds of confrontation are planted in the mind, how we begin to think and feel about certain relationships and arrangements in our lives.

Though Bleek has yet to utter a single word expressing his feelings, Jay can sense trouble…

Let’s move on to the lyrics that capture Jay’s inner thoughts…

It seems, I’m like Keenan, picking up on the vibe
that he ain’t too happy, I could just see it in his eyes

I really like the Keenan Ivory Wayans reference. For those 25 and under, you might not remember “In Living Color” the sketch comedy television series that was on Fox for 4 seasons, from 1990-1994, but it was one of my favorite shows growing up. It was where several people who are now big stars got their first real break; Jim Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Jaime Foxx to name a few.

I don’t want to go too much into it but Keenan Ivory Wayans was the host and creator of the show. The show was a family affair, several of his siblings were on the show and In Living Color established the Wayans family as a major force in comedy.

Keenan left In Living Color in 1992 over disputes concerning censorship issues with Fox. He had concerns about the value of the show once it went into syndication. Wayans wasn’t happy with the direction the show was going in and it played out in the press and his discontent was even noticeable on television by the end of the show’s third season.

I hope I wasn’t too lengthy in giving some background of the Keenan Wayans/In Living Color reference but it’s just a clever reference by Jay to describe how he could see Bleek’s discontent in his eyes.

Those of us who watched “In Living Color” back in the day and saw the whole thing unravel can really appreciate that reference.

Moving on…

I don’t know if it’s the chicks or how we dividing the loot
Time to pay his ass a visit ‘fore he decide to get cute

Jay tells us that he doesn’t know whether the cause of Bleek’s discontent is related to money or women. It’s worth noting that money and women are often the two biggest causes for conflict between men.

Jay doesn’t ignore the vibe he’s getting from Bleek and I think wisely decides that he should go and see him before Bleek tries to challenge his position.

I will say that Jay is showing insight in regards to mindset that shouldn’t be overlooked. You have to be able to pick up on (and accurately interpret) vibes when dealing with others. Sure, there’s a selfish motive behind paying Bleek a visit but the visit also provides an opportunity to give Bleek some much need guidance…

“…before he decides to get cute”

The next lines…

Jumped out like a star with the flavest car
Matching the gator shirt, softer than my next door neighbors
These young niggaz think I fell out the loop
Cause the last time they seen me hopping, out the Coupe
I hopped out in a suit

Jay describes the scene when he pays Bleek a visit in the ‘hood. Jay pulls up in an expensive luxury car whose color matches the shirt he’s wearing. Clearly, Jay’s lifestyle has changed. He no longer lives in the ‘hood (“softer than my next door neighbors)- he likely lives in a “nice” middle/upper class neighborhood now.

He knows that Bleek and many of the other cats in the ‘hood thinks he’s out of touch now that he has risen to the top of the dope game and lives what seems like, another world away, in the suburbs. In fact, the last time they saw him, he “hopped out the Coupe” wearing a suit!

To them, a man’s progress signals his weakness.

Of course, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

Jay has grown-up. His style and swagger has changed. The luxury car and the wardrobe, represent growth and maturity. The change in lifestyle is brought on by a change in mindset.

A big-time drug dealer is not the only person who goes through this. A lawyer, doctor, businessperson, any successful professional from the ‘hood face this sort of suspicion and hostility when they come back home. While there are some who are truly proud of your accomplishments, others are full of jealousy and envy. Often, it’s not personal they are simply frustrated or even bitter by their own predicament.

Let’s move on to the lyrics from Bleek’s verse…

Look at this nigga Jay fronting trying to take my shine
I didn’t say this verbally, just had some shit on my mind

We can tell from this line that Jay’s instincts in regards to Bleek’s mindset are correct. Bleek tells us what he’s thinking. He feels like Jay’s appearance in the ‘hood is not without motive. He believes that Jay is trying to show him up. While Jay’s face is rarely seen, Bleek is in the streets everday. People see him grinding and he has made a come-up, now he’s getting respect but he feels that Jay’s mere presence overshadows his power and influence.

Bleek lets us know that he didn’t state these things verbally- these thoughts are in his head.

Sometimes the people we respect, we resent. Our resentment can come from feeling like we can never come out from under the shadows of others, or it comes from pure jealousy. People also resent others they respect who they feel don’t fully appreciate them or give them their proper respect in return.

Bleek’s resentment seem to be driven by his perception that Jay has a lack of respect for the power, influence and respect that he has achieved in the ‘hood.

People in your life, sometimes those closest to you, resent you for the reasons (or others) that I just mentioned. They may never tell you this but their resentment may be revealed through their body language, a change in their behavior, etc.

Resist feelings of resentment because it creates or adds fuel to conflict that can ruin a relationship.

Understand the root cause of resentment toward you and don’t take it personal… and don’t it let it slow-up your hustle.

Let’s keep it going…

Plus I’m puffing like an ounce, more than I used to puff
Taking advice from these niggas but they ain’t used to stuff

Here’s a very telling line that actually reveals what’s driving Bleek’s resentment toward Jay.

First of all, Bleek is smoking more weed more frequently! Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but heavy drug use can “cloud” (no pun intended) judgment. Heavy and frequent drug use impacts your focus and the sharpness of your mind. Bleek spends too much time getting high and this gives him too much time to “think” unclearly about his relationship with Jay in regards to the hustle.

The other factor that seems to be playing a role in Bleek’s resentment toward Jay is the “advice” he receives from his friends, likely the ones who hustle under him. His boys are “in his ear”, putting all kinds of distorted thoughts and ideas in his head. Bleek says that “they ain’t used to stuff”, they don’t know how to handle the changes in their lifestyle.

Bleek’s relationship with Jay has had a “positive” impact on his boys in terms of success in the drug game and yet they’re essentially biting the hand that feeds them by instigating a beef between Bleek and Jay.

On “Anything”, Jay tells his nephew…

“Don’t listen to your crew/Do what works for you.”

I’m not going to tell you to disregard the advice or feedback from others because it may be genuine and sound. But you must have a clear understanding of your sources. How much experience do they have? How well do they manage their own lives? How insightful are they really?

Speaking of “clear”, how clear is your mind?

I’m not going to get all self-righteous in regards to drug use. I’ve certainly smoked my share of weed in the past and I probably drink a little too much right now! But I think we all know that overindulgence in any vice is a recipe for destruction. Heavy drug use first impacts your mind, which will then significantly influence your actions.

Here’s what Bleek’s friends are telling him…

They had me thinking, “Shit, I’m the one that moved the stuff
While he drive around town in brand new Coupe’s and stuff”

Bleek’s boys try to convince him that he deserves more respect, more power, more influence, and, most importantly, more money because while Jay lives the good life, driving around in “brand new Coupes”, he – not Jay, is the one who is distributing the product on the streets and incurring the most risk.

People only see others “shining” and not the day-to-day, continuous grind that is done in order to live a certain lifestyle. People just see what’s on the surface. Regardless of whether you think someone “deserves” the perks they’re receiving, remember, you can’t knock the hustle and stay focused on your grind.

Here’s how Bleek ends his verse…

Swear to God, they had me practically hating his guts
As he approached I spoke, “Jigga, what up?”

Bleek’s boys have been so vocal about his relationship with Jay that at this point, they have poisoned his opinion of Jay and now Bleek is “practically hating his guts”!

This can happen when we are heavily influenced by the opinions of others. Their words start to shape our thoughts and ideas. The words of others can cause a change in our own thinking, which, of course, impacts our actions.

It is not uncommon to see relationships become strained or end outright largely based on the words (or actions) of third parties.

Don’t allow others on the outside looking in to cloud your judgment. Don’t burn a bridge or break a bond with someone close to you based on the perspective of others. Trust self- your own judgment of character and of the situation in question.

At the end of Bleek’s verse, he and Jay are about to engage in a conversation that could become a deadly confrontation.

Let’s include the lyrics to the chorus of song…

I done came up
Put my life on the line
Soaked the game up
Now it’s my time to shine
Time to change up
No more second in line
Nine-eight, these streets is mine

These lyrics defiantly performed by Bleek reveal his determination to claim his spot at the top. He tells us that he has sacrificed his life and soaked up like a sponge all of the ins-and-outs of the drug game (from Jay). Now he feels that it’s his “time to shine”.

This is his moment.

I love the way the lyrics set up the confrontation. Like many of Jay’s songs, the verses have the same impact of great literature or cinema.

While this song tells the tale of a strained mentor/protégé relationship in the drug trade, this sort of conflict can occur in relationships in our lives.

In part 2 we’ll examine how the tension grows leading up to a dramatic AND insightful confrontation.

from bookofhov


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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; 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passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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