Helen Purves All you need to know about Helen Purves. And, indeed, much more.

18Apr/113

Jay-Z has 99 problems – but what are they?

Recently, I've been thinking about Jay-Z. Or, more accurately, his many problems.  I don't know why, but I just have.  If you're wondering what I'm talking about (i.e. are not Down With The Kids) here's his delightful tune accurately named "99 Problems" which begins to outline his difficulties.


Jay-Z: 99 Problems

In case you can't be bothered to listen to what amounts to the pinnacle of human musical achievement, Jay-Z repeatedly states that if you're having girl problems, he feels dreadfully awful about it - but not one of his 99 problems is caused by "bitches". Having consulted Urban Dictionary I have concluded that he's talking about women, not female dogs.

This upset me greatly. What are all these problems? I set out to find out. I guessed that Jay-Z himself is very busy, so I have instead written a letter to his UK agent. Here it is.

Jay-Z letter - page one of two (see blog entry for transcript)Jay-Z letter - page two of two (see blog entry for transcript)

Dear Sirs,

I write in regard to the well-known song "99 Problems" by your client Jay-Z. This track has deeply troubled me for some time, and I very much hope you might be able to clear things up (or forward my letter on, in the event that you are unable to do so).

In the song, Mr. Z quite clearly states that he has 99 problems, none of which are related to bitches. I cannot help but feel that this is a very large number of problems for anyone to bear, even someone so talented and adept at multitasking as Jay-Z.

In his song, Mr. Z lists several of these problems, including issues with local law enforcement agencies, his impoverished upbringing and the extortionate rate he was requested to pay in bail after an altercation with a contemporary. However, he makes no mention of the other problems he faces, leaving his audience to guess at the others.

My younger brother has suggested that Jay-Z might be referring to smaller, more everyday problems such as mosquito bites, paper cuts or possibly a slight headache, but I can hardly conceive that these would constitute problems significant enough to warrant the authorship of a song so successful that Rolling Stone Magazine conferred upon it the honour of the #2 spot in their list of the top 100 songs of the previous decade. The same applies to my initial thought that perhaps the song relates to some algebra homework: besides, I believe Mr. Z was around the age of 34 at the time, and would therefore have left formal education some time previously.

This leads me to conclude that Jay has a great many problems, and I would very much appreciate some clarification as to whether or not these have been resolved. It is possible that you have some kind of list of these which you can send me, hopefully in electronic form: my email address is [email address]. In addition to this I would be more than happy to try and alleviate some of his problems if I am able.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Nina Elizabeth Purves

I'll let you know when I hear back, dear readers. In the mean time, if you can think of what any of his many problems might be, do let me know. It really does concern me that one man can have so very many problems.

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Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Oh yes, and I know this song is just short of a million years old now – but what can I say? It’s been troubling me for QUITE SOME TIME.

  2. “not one of his 99 problems is caused by “bitches””

    I think you’ll find this statement does not represent Mr. Z’s views.

    A “bitch ain‘t one” for sure, but so far as the being a contributing cause of auxiliary problems we are left in the dark.

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