On Sunday night (April 3), JAY-Z earned a Grammy Award for “Best Rap Song.” The trophy came courtesy of his newsworthy appearance on Kanye West’s “Jail” last year. In the last 24 hours, Hov delivered another noteworthy feature verse care of Pusha-T’s “Neck & Wrist.” The latest look from Pusha’s Grammy-nominated DAYTONA follow-up has Jay spitting lucid lyrics about his status in the wake of his late friend and collaborator, Biggie Smalls.
Neck & Wrist” follows “Diet Coke” as the second look from Pusha’s upcoming LP. It is produced by his mentor, Pharrell Williams—who provides some vocals in the song. As is tradition, Push’ raps about achieving fame and fortune after a proud past in the dope game. “The money counter ding is so exciting / Summertime, Winterfell, I’m ‘The Night King’ / The Colgate kilo, the hood needs whitening / We fishscale ni**as like we all Pisces,” he says, with seafood wordplay. He follows with sinister bars: “Your b*tch in my bubble like I’m still typing / She hopin’ that you let her go like a kite string / Your eco-friendly jewelers, you keep recycling / Cartier bust-downs just not my thing / The B in the center of that left and right wing / The only time you’ll ever see me next to Breitling / Wonder where this started from, the facts are frightening / Richard Pryor’s flame gave birth to pipe dreams.”
Following Pusha’s financial flexes, Jay matches that energy. “The phase I’m on, love, I wouldn’t believe it either / I’d be like, ‘JAY-Z’s a cheater,’ I wouldn’t listen to reason either.” Jay references the infidelity and marital woes which he addressed on 2017’s 4:44. He then comes back to erroneous labels used against him from his past. Jay did this with Pusha years ago, including Tomi Lahren’s disparaging remarks on 2016’s “Drug Dealers Anonymous.” “All I know is he’s a felon, how is he sellin’? / Weed, the Caliva brothers, deep down, I believe you love us, huh / Feast your eyes, the piece unique, it’s sapphire / Rappers (are) liars, I don’t do satire / Neither I nor my wrist move mockingly / Y’all spend real money on fake watches, shockingly / They put me on lists with these ni**as inexplicably / I put your mansion on my wall, are you sh*ttin’ me?” JAY-Z moves from promoting his cannabis company to seven-figure Richard Mille time pieces on his wrist to his art collection. He does all of this while distancing himself from the Rap pack.
In closing, Jay brings up the criticism he’s faced about finding stardom after the death of friend and classmate Christopher Wallace. “They like, ‘If Big was alive, Hov wouldn’t be in his position’ / If Big had survived, y’all would have got The Commission,” he raps. Notably, The Commission was a super-group planned to include The Notorious B.I.G., JAY-Z, Puffy Daddy, Lil’ Cease, and Charli Baltimore. Biggie’s manager Lance “Un” Rivera was said to have orchestrated the collective, which Biggie shouted out on “What’s Beef” and “Victory”—two songs released after Biggie’s 1997 death. Heads also got a taste of the Jay and Big Commission chemistry on “Whatchu Want” from the Duets: The Final Chapter LP, which was credited to the crew. In 2022, JAY-Z muffles the speculators with the closing bars: “Hov was gon’ always be Hov / It ’twas the universe will ’cause Allah said so, and now I’m here.” The lyric video, embedded above, uses a font that resonates with Pusha-T’s brand.
Following a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction in late 2021 (alongside LL Cool J), JAY-Z uses this feature verse to own his mistakes as well as assert his greatness.
#BonusBeat: An Ambrosia For Heads original video that examines what if JAY-Z had stuck to his plan of retiring after Reasonable Doubt: