At a glance, it looks like a guy with no shirt on with his arm around another guy, like Baby and Lil Wayne on the cover of the 10th anniversary issue of XXL, with Jay-Z's crossed out name superimposed over it, as if he's trying to tell us something.
I'll take a crack at it: The fact that his name is crossed out means that he's not a man anymore, thanks to the Illuminati?
The statue on the right, upon further inspection, looks like it could be an ugly woman with short hair and an androgynous build, like Lena Dunham. She's significantly overweight, but somehow none of it went to her cans. That's why she doesn't mind being constantly naked on TV: she's hardly a woman for all intents and purposes ("intensive purposes").
If the statue on the right really is a woman, the statue on the left is pulling that same move that sex offender kid with the dreadlocks pulls at -cons and auto shows, where he puts his arm around the booth whore's shoulder and cups the side of her opposite can (arguably the best part) with his hand. Is it a coincidence that I saw that picture the other day, and now here's this Jay-Z album cover, or is that the extent to which the Illuminati now controls my media consumption?
I've been in a bit of an existential crisis ever I saw that picture. For years, I thought I wanted to be an author, but then I wrote a couple of books, and come to find out you only make like $600 from it. Now I realize that what I really want to do is got to -cons and auto shows and pose for pictures with booth whores while surreptitiously touching their cans.
That wouldn't be a job per se, in the sense that I could support myself (financially) doing it, but it might honestly be the thing I'd most like to do, even more so than going to -cons and auto shows somehow convincing booth whores to make sweet, passionate love to me.
To be clear, I'd never turn down some stank from a woman attractive enough to demand a fee to stand next to a booth at a -con or an auto show in a skimpy outfit. I'm not gay or anything. But there's something powerful about the idea of taking something as mundane as posing for a picture and turning it into something bordering on sexual assault, and I think that's what Jay-Z is getting at with this album cover.
Any man can go up to a woman and try to talk her into making sweet, passionate love to him the old fashioned way, by pretending to be someone you're not and feigning interest in what she has to say, but only a certain kind of man can throw his arm around a woman's shoulders, under the guise of taking a picture, and go for (hopefully) a handful of sideboob. #newrules
With this album, Jay-Z's not waiting for the RIAA to change its rules so that you can sell a million copies of your album at an extreme discount to someone you're doing an album with and have that be considered a platinum album. He's gonna do it anyway and then try to force the RIAA to acknowledge after the fact, using Twitter. He's not gonna give the new Kanye West album the time and space it needs to go platinum the old fashioned way, which it honestly might not. He's gonna hijack Kanye's promotional cycle right when it's reaching its peak, to promote his own new album. Fuck Yeezus. This is Jay-Z at his absolute rapiest, even more so than when he used to "date" Foxy Brown.
Yesterday or maybe the day before, I awoke to a celebratory email from an obscure blogger I hadn't elected to receive email from informing me that Jay-Z had "forced the RIAA to change its rules," as if the RIAA is now sending platinum plaques to RapRadar-style spam blogs the way they sometimes send plaques to people only tangentially involved with a project. (They're not doing that, are they?) I clicked through, had a look, and I'm at a loss for where it says they're counting all of the copies Samsung bought towards the total number of copies sold.
It seems like all it said was that they're changing the rule so that album can be declared platinum the day it comes out, if it sells that many copies, rather than having to wait a month after its release date, to account for returns, like when people took back copies of Michael Jackson albums and exchanged them for Nevermind, back in the dark ages, since hardly anybody returns shit they bought on iTunes. I didn't even know that was possible. But I could be mistaken. I didn't go to a very good high school.
Both Billboard and Soundscan said they aren't counting those Samsung sales one way or the other, which means that if no one actually buys this shit on CD tomorrow (is the store even open?), it could debut way down in the lower reaches of the Billboard 200, alongside shit that's been on the charts since Jay-Z was in high school, like Dark SIde of the Moon. Is it possible to scan like 12 copies and still go platinum? How does the RIAA even know if an album went platinum, if they're not using Soundscan data?
My concern here is that if Jay-Z can sell a million copies of Microsoft Encarta Holy Grail to Samsung for five million dollars and have that be considered a platinum album, we're only about two weeks out from the point when Papoose gets the idea to sell 10 million copies of his next album, Free Remy Ma, to Boost Mobile for a bus pass and a Landshire Sandwich -- the first rap album to go diamond the day it came out. He's already figured out how to pwn Summer Jam. I wouldn't put it past him.