Jay-Z has just released his 13th album, 4:44 and for any rap artist who’s spent long enough on earth to release 13 albums, the response has been off the chains so far (Ask Nas and Snoop something). In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Jay-Z has, with this album, created the best body of work ever made in that genre but then I’ve just read that Hova himself has warned that one day is too short to “listen to an album” and “rate it”.
The reason I am fascinated by this new release is almost different than the reason it has caught fire on social media. I find Jay-Z’s ability to connect his lyrics with real people and real events incredible. No, I don’t mean “Becky” or “Solange” or even “Kanye” whom many have reported that the rapper dissed in the album. I mean Eric Benét.
Eric Benét was once married to award-winning and most talented Halle Berry. Their marriage ended in 2003 and the consensus (as well as by his own admission) is that the marriage just could not survive Eric’s infidelity.
Using Eric Benét as a catchphrase in the opening track, Kill Jay-Z where he scolds his alter-ego, Jay-Z, the rapper reportedly sings:
“You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away / I don’t even know what else to say, (expletive) never go Eric Benét … in the future, other niggas playing football with your son”
With those lines, true as they are (especially if you agree Halle Berry IS the baddest girl) Jay has successfully made Eric Benét synonymous with cheating – and cheating so bad, you let the good one get away. The R and B singer, won’t have been wrong to get mad. I expect Future to express his anger at the “in the future, other niggas playing football with your son” bit soon (Future has reportedly expressed his disdain for Ciara’s new partner’s relationship with their son).
But Benét is not mad at Jay even though he knew “absolutely nothing” about the lines before today – meaning Jay-Z never asked if it was okay to use his name like that (not that he’d have been expected to).
For Benét‘s part though, USA TODAY reports that the man is “thrilled” and feels “complimented”. “It’s like yo, bro, where are my royalties!” the singer reports that he joked while “speaking from the airport en route to Cuba, where he’s headed for a cultural exchange event”.
“All of a sudden I start getting texts from homies and whoever, and then the Twitter thing happened, and it’s quite an interesting process,” he said. “But it’s all love…everything he makes is always fire, and once again he did not disappoint. It’s kind of unreal being mentioned in his lyrics, but like I said, it’s all love.”
He’d earlier posted a tweet as “lighthearted” as this response on Twitter only to be met with childish complaints and general banter from the people on that platform.
Hey yo #Jayz! Just so ya know, I got the baddest girl in the world as my wife….like right now! ✌🏾
— Eric Benét (@ebenet) June 30, 2017
He called his tweet one of those “knee-jerk reactions” And about the vile responses on Twitter, Eric said: “that’s one of the blesses and curses of Twitter, there’s really no mediator when you’re just chilling by yourself. Twitter is full of opinions…actually it’s kind of funny to read through all the comments, people are really witty with their slapbacks. Some positive, some not quite so positive.”
Basically, he responded the way an accomplished musician with 11 albums to his name and a real life and job would respond.
Addressing his own past infidelity:
“From my perspective, I think that everything that happens in your past, most of it leads to where you are today. And I love my life as it is, my babies and my wife, so life and God is good.”
Benét has been married to Manuela Testolini since 2011 and they’ve had two daughters since then and he says even after this episode, he’ll “continue to be a fan [of Jay-Z] from afar.”
Cheers to the weekend and to seeing many more reasonable human beings like Benét in world!
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.