Young Guru Explains The Hidden Meanings In JAY-Z’s New Verse

Yesterday (August 26), JAY-Z’s astounding verse arrived on DJ Khaled’s “GOD DID.” The song, a collaboration also featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend, and Fridayy, arrived on Khaled’s album of the same name. The song is produced by Khaled, Tarik Azzouz, Streetrunner, and Fridayy.

Within, Jay spits lyrics including: “I put my hustle onto Forbes, can you believe this guy? / Then we said, ‘F*ck it,’ and took the dope public / Out the mud, they gotta face you now, you can’t make-up this sh*t /Judge it how you judge it, say we goin’ corporate / Nah, we just corner boys with the corner office.

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Young Guru, known for his role as JAY-Z’s engineer, A&R, studio manager and even his DJ at times, posted an Instagram video breaking down these lyrics to Genius‘ Rob Markman and GQ‘s Frazier Tharpe III. After Tharpe references the passage above as an an example of prime wordplay. Guru explains, “Everything ties in. So he’s saying about Emory [Jones]; he’s talking about Emory: ‘Out the mud, they gotta face you know, you can’t make up this sh*t‘— so on one level, it’s like, ‘okay, we got it out the mud—out the dirt, and you know Emory’s backstory of him going to jail, him taking the charges, him taking the time, right?” Guru said. “But when you get a facial, what do are you doin’? You’re cleaning. You’re cleaning your face, you [are] taking away all the bumps, all the bruises, all the scars, the lil’ blemishes [when] you get a facial.” “Face you” which sounds like “facial” works on several levels.


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He continued: “What do they use to do the facial? The mud. Without the mud, they gotta do a facial now; they can’t makeup the sh*t. So it’s the makeup on the face, but also with the facial, right, with the mud, it’s basically saying you can’t come to me with a face done, being fake. The makeup is it not really your real face. It’s not just for women, men come in with makeup on, too. Not in the physical sense—but in the face that you’re making, and in the way that you’re presenting yourself. You can’t fake [it] to me. Why? Because I got it out the mud; I seen it all. So they gotta face you now. Your ambition—the thing that you went through your whole life, now these people on the street gotta look at the result: paper planes, monograms—this is directly to Em’.” Emory Jones co-founded the Roc Nation paper planes and has been a top executive at the company’s apparel line. Emory, who was sentenced to 16 years in 2000 for drug trafficking charges, returned home in the last decade. He has become a top-line exec within Jay’s company.

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In a second video, Guru continues, “Jay rhymes on three different levels. He’ll rhyme [on] common-level. The people that’s always [looking for double] entendre, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, it’s on this level.’ Then there’s a crew level, where you’ll never know what [O.G.] Juan’s real street name is, but I gotta tell you that that’s who he’s talkin’ to on this particular thing. But then there’s a level even above that. That [lyric] is almost four levels,” Guru says.


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He uses “new planes gettin’ broken-in” to illustrate. Guru continues, “It’s literally paper planes, the brand [logo for Roc Nation]. Like, when you’re tryin’ [on] new clothes, you’re breakin’ in your clothes. But that’s Emory—that’s Emory’s thing: paper planes gettin’ broken in.” Moments later, Guru points out that the lyric also references a new private jet purchase that JAY-Z made. Only those in his inner-most circle could catch the reference. “This man just ordered a new plane.” He calls that crew-level. “But then it’s ‘new planes gettin’ broken in,‘” meaning achieving higher altitudes altogether. “New levels of existence.”

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“GOD DID” and songs by Pusha-T, Benny The Butcher, Jay Electronica, Westside Gunn and others are currently on the Ambrosia For Heads playlist:

#BonusBeat: Young Guru has also worked closely with 9th Wonder and Jamla Records. Amid Rapsody’s longtime ties with Roc Nation, Jamla artist Reuben Vincent now joined the fold. This week, he released “Geechie Suede” a Camp Lo-inspired video single marking his partnership: