Jay-Z and Elvis

“The first time I heard our voices playing back on tape, I realized that a recording captures you, but plays back a distortion-a different voice from the one you hear in your own head even though I could recognize myself instantly. I saw it as an opening, a way to re-create myself and reimagine my world. After I recorded a rhyme it gave me an unbelievable rush to play it back, to hear that voice.” (5)


After reading this I could see how Elvis must receive the same kind of rush when he is doing his impersonations. For Elvis to do his impersonations he has to change his appearance, but if he were to still look in the mirror he would still recognize himself. The same way that Jay-z can recognize his own voice but knows that something is different. Jay-z gets a rush from trying to re-create himself and Elvis gets a rush from trying to recreate someone else. I think that for Elvis the only person he saw that could dance with the same passion that he had was Elvis. He didn’t have a buddy to practice moves with or to challenge his craft. He was always discouraged to dance, because he needed to find a real job. I wonder if Elvis was videotaped doing his routine if he would feel the same way> I wonder if he would be inspired to re-create himself or if he would feel discouraged and see what everyone else sees when he dances.

One thought on “Jay-Z and Elvis

  1. rlong

    I would like to elaborate on Shannon’s comparison of Elvis and Jay-Z. Many parallels can be drawn, and it is interesting to note that both boys were distracted from their passion in rapping or dancing for the dangerous but rewarding lives of illegal activities like selling drugs. Jay-Z explains how he felt forced to hustle, which got in the way of his rhyming. “I was still rhyming, but now it took a backseat to hustling… If it hadn’t been for hustling, I would’ve been working on being the best MC, technically, to ever touch a mic” (Jay-Z 16-17 ). But at the same time, he admits that the hustling gave him something to rhyme about. Similarly, in Graceland, Elvis’s friend Redemption sets Elvis up with a job packaging cocaine. Though Elvis is hesitant, he agrees because he feels like he doesn’t have other options and his passion (dancing) will not feed him. “Don’t worry, you go learn quick. See, Elvis, dis is new business for me, and if it go well and I get plenty job, den you don’t have to work in dat club again, eh? When we go to de club we go go as rich men.” (Abani 109). Both boys had passions , but society pushed them toward crime in order to survive in the city.


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