Video: Jay-Z Unveils Life And Times Blog
Jay-Z intro’d his new cool-hunting Life And Times blog this week with this video, modestly tagged “Welcome to the Future.” It’s gotten mostly positive reactions so far. And rightly so — the photo-grid layout is bold and innovative but still easy to navigate–and the grid itself is already well-stocked with stuff that is legitimately cool, from the work of African filmmaker Ousmane Sembene to the newest song by avant R&B kids The Weeknd. It feels like it’s designed to position Jay as an all-around tastemaker somewhere between Oprah‘s Favorite Things and Kanye‘s blog–though it’s not clear yet how much of a lane for Jay’s music and personal expression the site will be. Which is the big question mark. None of the stuff highlighted on here seems to have much to do with the things Jay has proven he’s good at; rapping, repping New York, wearing all black, etc. To be fair, he did pioneer the art of dropping the names of women’s-wear designers into rap songs. But if I look at Jay-Z as a brand (and I think Jay-Z probably looks at Jay-Z as a brand) I would have to say this is a move away from his core competency. It might just conform rap fans’ worst fears — that he is now a rich dude with nothing but time to sit around his Tribeca loft, nerding out on new gadgets and chopping it up with Glenn O’Brien about his art collection — without really reaching the hipsterati, who possibly already had the new song by The Weeknd. But it’ll take time to see if Life And Times can bridge that gap. And I am gonna spend that time checking out the rest of the cool shit that’s on here.