Video Review: Jay-Z “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”

Jay-Z raps into a radio station’s microphone.

A message reads on the screen reads: “‘5 Minutes Earlier.” Jay-Z and his friends park in the radio station parking lot. They walk past the secretary. She glances up at him while she talks on the phone. A second young man stands up in her cubicle, talking on her phone. One of Jay-Z’s friends tells the DJ to get out of his seat. The employees stand outside the studio, dancing. The DJ reads a magazine and dances.

The song blares from a handheld stereo at a salon. Two young man put their hands over their heads as two police talk to them as the song plays in a boombox in the backyard. A third young woman ignores two men talking to her as she walks to her car.

A message reads “later…” Jay-Z sits in the backseat of his car at night, watching as people gather in the parking lot. He shuffles a deck of cards. He snaps his fingers and the lights go out in the city. Through night vision, he gets out of the car and dances with people in the lot. At sunrise, his driver opens the door for him. He tips his hat and gets inside the car.

Rating: 3/5

Jay-Z did what he had to do. The independent radio stations hadn’t gotten him much notice. The corporate radio stations told him they had agreements with the labels and couldn’t play his songs. Jay-Z had shaken the program director’s hand and thanked him for the meeting.

Playing by the rules, though, was leading nowhere. Although he had gained a small following, the agents he contacted never answered his queries. His demos were mailed back to him with form letters. With every setback, he scheduled more shows in the area and searched for other agents to send his demos.

His friends were listening to the radio station and said he was material than their playlists. Jay-Z tells his friends to get the keys. They are driving to the station. The secretary puts the person on the hold and tells him he can’t go past the lobby. She calls security. Some of the sales people walk up to him and tell him it’s for employees only. He tells him that after they hear his song, they are going to be working for him.

Security pulls him out after before he can finish the second song. The afternoon DJ’s talk about the incident on the radio and apologize to their listeners. The television reporters across the street rush to talk with management. However, he receives a message that station won’t be pressing charges. His song has been the most requested one for the hour. The morning show would like to interview him. He answers “sure’ and schedules the interview.

Director: N/A Year: 2003

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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