Jay-Z Is Not Qualified To Kill Auto-Tune (Rant And New D.O.A. Video)

It was less than three weeks after the September 11 attacks that the Onion newspaper shattered the comic silence that always follows tragedy. With such headlines as “A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again” and “Privileged Children of Millionaires Square Off On World Stage,” they got folks laughing again. And then Saturday Night Live did some corny bullshit - with that great New Yorker Reese Witherspoon hosting - and NBC went down as the enterprise that not only pulled New York out of the rubble, but that lifted the joke moratorium.

Kind of like Jay-Z, whose “Death of Auto-Tune (D.O.A.)” is being touted as the axe that amputated the lamest of all lame rap trends - even though enlightened MCs and music critics have been lambasting pathetic contemporary synth crutches for years. While skeptics were lamenting the corn pop direction that he steered Def Jam into, Hova was grubbing surf-and-turf and promoting such trash as Ne-Yo and Rihanna. And now he gets to take credit for beheading the monster he helped spawn? Please. It’s like Bono taking credit for Obama's diplomacy.

Nonetheless, his words will be the ones that stick; Jay-Z is the most exalted cat in hip-hop, which affords him the right to pull the winning chess move and declare victory - even if he was playing for your opponent the entire time. Still - and I think I speak on behalf of anyone who believes that Jay’s overall contribution to hip-hop has been as disappointing and superficial as its been triumphant - this song (and its accompanying video) is just another empty gesture on par with tapping the Roots to back his MTV Unplugged set.  

Like so many moves in Jay’s career, “Death Of Auto-Tune” is a demonstration in deep irony. He shouts out Lil Wayne, but criticizes rappers who jock T-Pain. In a Hot 97 interview, he even said that it’s acceptable when Kanye West uses Auto-Tune. Call the folks at Urban Dictionary. It seems we have a new definition for “half-stepping.” That said; Hova’s choice of No ID to cook this beat is a sure sign that the man can make a decent choice from time to time. As far as the video is concerned, though, it would have been nice if Jay also sentenced slow-motion cigar-smoking pan-shots to the guillotine.

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