I totally agree with the authors perspective of Jay-Z portraying a certain image in his videos to transition himself from “the game” to becoming a corporate citizen. Jay-Z displayed his new identity when he promoted in his Black Album that he doesn’t wear jersey but instead crisp jeans with button-ups. I believe Jay-Z knows that in Hip-Hop artist are rarely granted distances from the roles they play in their music videos or even Hip-Hop performances. Usually, if you act like a thug in a video it is because you want to show that you are a thug. Jay-Z knew that whatever character he portrayed in his music video is how the public would perceive him.
If you date back to 1998 and his famous “Hard Knock Life” record, the music video portrays a community where people knew and understood one another. Some examples would be people riding bikes, shooting craps, chatting on stoops and posting in the hood in Jigga mans fine ride. Jay-Z claims to stretch out the game and put Jigga on top. This sets him up to show the audience that he can do anything he puts his mind to or “change the game”.
Another form of transformation is the several names he chose- Jigga, Hova, Izzo and Sean Carter. This is a clear display of his evaluation of growth and maturity. He is transitioning to a corporate business man from a street thug while bringing his fans along with him. A prime example of this is shown in the next album after “Can I Get A…”, it displays that their has been a metaphorical murder of Jay-Z and the return of Sean Carter. He is trying to show that the gangster may have retired but the hustler will last forever. Change is not always something that we can control.
In his last videos Jay-Z looks at Hip-Hop as a tool and politics. He pushes it forward by saying “no chrome on the wheels I’m a grownup for real”. He knows his identity and so does the public. He shows himself in his limo and all the pretty girls from the community join him. He snaps his fingers and the city lights go out. He introduces his fiancé as “the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain”. Jay-Z displays that he went from rags to riches in his lyrics and his music videos. He slowly makes this progressional transition into corporate and begins a new trend for other rappers. I believe this was a stratigic move for Sean Carter because he knew the street life image could only go so far in corporate america. He was able to notice this and capitalize on it.