I Got 1537 Problems But Jay-Z Ain’t One

Being the Alpha male I am, there I was pumping iron at the gym on Monday working on my quads*, making sure all the other guys who were there knew I was top dog, just like I had to when I was doing a stretch in Leavenworth, when Jay-Z 99 Problems popped up on my pod.  I just love that track, the beat, masterminded by one Mr R Rubin is sheer genius, simultaneously managing to sound like 1987 and the future by sampling Billy Squier’s mighty ‘The Big Beat’ and Mountain’s ‘Long Red’ and the hook from Ice-T’s ’99 Problems’.  I’m not a fan of Jay-Z at all in general, but I think his lyrics and delivery on this is just superb**.

Jay-Z 99 Probs 03

As something of a multi-media sensation myself I can really relate to the first verse about having mags and radio stations exploiting your image to boost their ad sales, but it’s the second verse that really hits home, about being stopped by the cops for being black, especially when he starts giving it back:

I ain’t stepping out of shit all my papers legit
“Do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?”
Well my glove compartment is locked so is the trunk and the back
And I know my rights so you gon’ need a warrant for that
“Aren’t you sharp as a tack are some type of lawyer or something?”
“Or somebody important or something?”
Nah I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit
Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit
“Well see how smart you are when the K-9’s come”
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one
Hit me

Cheer up fella!
Cheer up fella!

Actually it’s a great track but 99 Problems contains some really shit legal advice, you don’t believe me – next time you get hassled by the man try insisting on those particular rights … you can use your one call at the station to thank me, or Jay-Z – I’m probably easier to get hold of during the day to be honest.

The bit I always shout out, once aloud on the station to my chagrin, is the line ‘half a mill for bail because I’m African!’.  I’m not, in fact I’m downright pale and pasty looking – the only way I’d be African is in the sense of being an unpleasant Colonial ruler, in which case I probably wouldn’t be proclaiming the fact loudly on Moorfields station platform in the morning.

Jay-Z 99 Probs 02

But I’m telling you all this to distract myself from the tragedy that befell me tonight.  I picked out my trusty copy of 99 Problems tonight, the one I bought on 7 June 2004 put the needle on it and .. it skipped badly.  I cleaned it off and it skipped badly again.  I checked the stylus and it skipped badly again.  There’s nothing visible on it but the blighter won’t play.  When did I last play it? you know what, I’m not sure I EVER have – I already had it on MP3 by the time I bought it.  That makes me feel like a glutton.

F-ing records! What a stupid, fragile illogical way to collect music.

Jay-Z 99 Probs 05

Ah well, enjoy these photos. If it wasn’t so cold and wet out I’d send 99 Problems on its way to hip-hop Valhalla with a Viking funeral – sadly the local tip will have to do^.  Damn.  Ah well the good news is that I won’t have to rename my blog 1536, since I have bought a record since I started it.

If you having girl problems I feel bad for you son
I got 1537 problems but a skip ain’t one

493 Down.

*I’m 30% sure, without Googling it, that’s shoulders; maybe 25%.

**To prove a point the B-side is pimp fixated nonsense bollocks and what’s with putting clean and explicit versions of tracks on a 12″? Is that so you don’t have to change your listening substantially when Aunt Mabel and Pastor Honeycott come for tea?! Arse.

Jay-Z 99 Probs 04

^I’ll recycle the sleeve obvs. I know, I know, my life is permanently like being on the road with the Crüe in 1987.

18 thoughts on “I Got 1537 Problems But Jay-Z Ain’t One

      1. Yes! I was fair fond o’ that one until the great PC virus of 2010 hit. Lost a great deal o’ the digital collection. Bah!

    1. Good math! It’s gone now, snapped into three bits (the shrapnel almost got the cat, it was all a bit ‘Band of Brothers’ when I broke it in the kitchen!).

      1. Hah, math was my absolute worst subject in school, so thanks for the compliment!
        Geez, I hope you don’t wind up finding bits of vinyl in your eggs in the morning…(oh wait, maybe you don’t eat eggs? Are you an ovo-lacto vege? Okay, how about a smoothie! yes?)

  1. Shame about the skip. I have this song on a compilation disc and I remember it being really shrill and annoying. I’ve probably only heard it the once, so I’m maybe not the best judge.

    How do you clean your records? I had a guy at a record shoppe tell me how he does it and it’s worked fine for me, even on old shit from the 70s that had no right playing at all.

      1. This method I was shown was mixing equal parts water and 99% isopropyl alcohol (not the 70%, it matters!) in a spray bottle, spray a microfibre cloth and go round the record with the cloth.

        It just bugs me to have to bin an entire record. It should be saveable!

  2. Great review 1537, laughed several times – simultaneously sounding like 87 and the future is my kind of sound! Rubin has to have one of the more impressive CVs, everything from Jay Z to the Dixie Chicks

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