Instead of Kanye and Jay racing for the proverbial throne, Ocean — the Los Angeles R&B singer and Odd Future affiliate — opens the album with a beautifully sung hook. (Another surprise: An entire two-and-a-half minutes go by before we hear Kanye’s voice).
But a look at their respective discographies shows Jay and Ye are both quick to cede their opening remarks to someone else — and often to people with fake British accents.
A selection of opening lines:
- Jay-Z and R. Kelly, “Unfinished Business,” 2004: Producer Tone in a British accent a la Slick Rick: “Hark, who goes yonder?”/“It is I sire, Tone from Brooklyn.”
- Jay-Z and Linkin Park , “Collision Course,” 2004: Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington: "I ordered a frappuccino! Where’s my [expletive] frappuccino?”
- Kanye West, “Late Registration,” 2006: Comedian DeRay Davis playing a school administrator, impersonating Bernie Mac: “I knew I was gonna see you again. Where your [expletive] bookbag at?”
- Jay-Z, “American Gangster” soundtrack, 2008: Actor Denzel Washington playing Frank Lucas in the film: “The man I worked for had one of the biggest companies in New York City. He didn’t own his own company. White man owned it so they owned him. Nobody owns me, though.”
- Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” 2010: Rapper Nicki Minaj in faux British accent (a la Slick Rick?): “You might think you’ve peeped the scene. You haven’t. The real one’s far too mean.”