Hit-Boy: Kanye West 2.0?June 8th, 2012
By Gee King
Some rappers appear on the scene with hits and disappear as quickly as they came. But the artists that rise above trivia level arrive with a story, not a gimmick, and grow before our eyes. With the release of “Jay-Z Interview” yesterday, Hit-Boy arrived with a familiar narrative and appears to have every intention of building on it. The excellence and precision he’s moved with thus far make perfect sense now that we know his eyes were set far beyond being a hit-making producer all along.
Watching his debut video, it’s hard not to be reminded of a young Kanye West, his label mate and hero. But while the 25-year-old wunderkind, who produced The Throne’s endemic smash “N—-s In Paris,” just introduced himself to the world as the second coming of Yeezy (a double threat producer/rapper), the mild-mannered “golden child” of Roc Nation appears to be a much calmer version of his idol-turned-mentor. But as easy as it is to draw parallels now, the southern California native is not necessarily guaranteed to be on the same path as Mr. West.
While Hit-Boy seems poised to fill Kanye’s shoes, it’s much more likely that he will blaze his own trail, receiving occasional wisdom and favors from Jay and Ye. Jay and Kanye don’t raise babies, unless your name is Blue Ivy Carter, so if he made it this far he must be capable of living up to the royal role he is claiming by standing on his own two.
Truth be told, he is just as valuable to The Throne as they are to him. If he continues rising at the pace he’s expected, he could graduate from little brother to peer, much like ‘Ye did to Jay in his journey from relatively anonymous Roc-A-Fella producer to one of the most famous rappers in the world. But he still has a long way to go before he’s granted full access into the Roc’s inner diamond.
As Kanye urged him in a brief clip that interrupts the video, “multiple work-level” days are necessary to achieve at the level he’s capable of. “You’re the golden child — we need you,” exclaimed ‘Ye. It’s not a stretch to picture Dame and Cam making similar pleas with Kanye and Just Blaze in Roc-A-Fella’s heyday as they locked them in the studio overnight.
But does Hit-Boy have the “five-beats-a-day-for-three-summers” mentality that turned Kanye from Dwayne Wayne to Dwyane Wade? If he truly wants to reach the levels that his Yodas have attained, he will need to focus and make good on the promise he’s shown. Billing himself as a mix between Freshman Adjustment, Kanye’s stellar mixtape series which proved his merit as an MC early on, and Late Registration, ‘Ye’s second album which established his sonic ambition, is a lofty goal. But he has been invited to the big stage and now has his shot. He hasn’t had much trouble hitting so far. The smart money is on his star shooting much farther in the future.
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