Benny Jay: Rapper Man

March 27th, 2019

I’m on the phone, talking to Kitty — my friend, the publicist.  And she tells me one of her clients is Rhymefest, the rapper.

Moreover, Rhymefest and Kanye West are up for a Grammy for New Slaves, a song they co-wrote.

Then she says: “You probably haven’t heard of it.”

You know, like I don’t know shit about hip hop!

“What do you mean, I haven’t heard it!” I tell her.

The thing is — people are always assuming I don’t know shit about hip hop.

That’s cause I’m old. Plus, I already admitted I only learned about Jay-Z in 2009, years after he had already become an international superstar.

That’s when I happened to hear 99 Problems on the juke box at the bowling alley and asked my teammates: “Hey, man, who is this guy?


If I ever got in trouble in NYC, I’m calling Murray Richman!

That night I went home and read all about Jay-Z on the internet.  I was particularly impressed by his connection to Murray “Don’t Worry” Richman, the criminal defense lawyer he hired to beat the rap for knifing a guy at a disco in New York City.

I believe that’s the shrewdest decision Jay-Z ever made. Hiring Murray Richman, that is. Not knifing the dude at the disco.

Anyway, I tell Kitty: “I know that song. My daughter taught it to me. It goes like this.”

And there and then I start rapping — live and on the phone!

“Uh-uh-uh, what up?  Uh, I’m tryna, what up?”

Which, I realize, pretty much sounds like my imitation of every hip hop song I ever heard, including 99 Problems.

“It ends with him saying where’s the mall?” I say. “That’s my favorite part — about the mall.”

“Wow,” says Kitty, who’s clearly impressed.



After we hang up, I start to think. Was I singing the right song to Kitty? So I go to the internet and start looking things up and — oh, no! I screwed the whole thing up!

I was singing Vanity Slaves by Kendrick Lamar. Which is a really excellent song about how people are trapped by their lust for fame and fortune. That’s the one that ends with Lamar asking where’s the mall. Like he’s a vanity slave, too. Get it?

God, I love that song.

Unfortunately, New Slaves is a different song. Which I’m sure I’ll also love, once I get to know it.

In other words, I got it all fucked up — again!

Please don’t tell Kitty. My reputation will be ruined.

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