Jay Rock Shows Again Why He’s One Of The Best Guest MCs Of His Generation (Video)
Although he was the first artist on the powerhouse record label that is TDE, Jay Rock’s output has been relatively sparse, compared to that of Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and others in the family. Rock has only released one album in the last six years, 2015’s stellar 90059. The Watts MC also has been very sparing with his guest verse appearances over the years, but when he does lend his menacing growl to a track, he makes it count.
On good kid, m.A.A.d. city‘s “Money Trees,” Rock became one of the few MCs to upstage Kendrick Lamar on a track. He had similar standout performances on Isaiah Rashad’s “Shot U Down (Remix),” and ScHoolboy Q’s “Los Awesome.” Not reserving his best strictly for TDE, Rock served up his finest for The Game on “Gang Bang Anyway” and, more recently, Mozzy’s “Momma We Made It.”
Rock’s latest appearance comes courtesy of DJ Kay Slay’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” video single, and, again, he does not disappoint. Most of the visual, directed by Mo Shines, takes place in darkened, deserted New York City streets, shot with dramatic lighting. Then, when TDE’s Jay Rock presents his verse, it’s quite a different atmosphere and location: an empty railroad, palms trees to one side, in the gentle Southern Californian sunshine.
French Montana affiliate Meet Sims sets the scene with his sung hook: “Youngin’ on the block all day getting money always / Can’t tell me nothing / Look what you made me / I’m just a product of my environment you see / Can’t tell me nothin’…” G-Unit’s Young Buck continues the theme, taking on the perspective of the dealer who’s doing what he’s doing because he “ain’t got no choice.” Then, Raekwon who has featured on numerous Kay Slay tracks in the past says “no.” Sharing past mistakes, the Wu-Tang Clan MC urges others to get “Back to a better space / Put your brain in a better place…”
In his verse (one of just a couple in 2017), Jay Rock spits with an urgent authority, reinforcing Raekwon’s message: “Just try’na find the pieces to the puzzle / We sitting in traps with Barney Rubble face covered in stubble / Was naked without it I run through this jungle of brick and struggle…”
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is the sixth single from The Big Brother album that came out last September on Street Sweepers Entertainment/Empire. That LP has an impressive and extremely diverse array of guests; ranging from Beanie Sigel to Ice-T, who features alongside Kool G Rap on the aptly named song “Hip Hop Icons.”
Almost every track on the album is graced by well-known names such as Kendrick Lamar, who featured alongside Mac Miller and Kevin Gates on a previous single, “Cold Summer.” Also included are rising stars such as Mysonne and Nick Grant, while Dave East pays his respects to the birthplace he shares with the DJ on “It’s Harlem.”