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POPSCREEN: Jay-Z

"Roc Boys (And The Winner Is...)" - Dir. Chris Robinson

After watching Jay-Z’s new video for “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is),” don’t be alarmed if you suddenly want to become an American gangster, one of their female friends, or both.

Popping bubbly, dressing lavishly (yes, Jay-Z does trade in his baggy jeans and oversized jersey for a rather nice suit in this video), and hanging out with an obviously elite crowd of bad asses that includes Diddy, Nas, Larry Johnson, and Mariah Carey. That seems more than appealing. And right when you feel as if nothing could be better, Hov proclaims, “Drinks is on the house!” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the fun?

The beat for this second single off his latest album “American Gangster” is best described as triumphant marching band meets New York gangster. And how sweet it is. The setting of the video is unsurprisingly a hoppin’ party. But the environment actually seems to be quite refined—the ladies are fully clothed and all the boys are in well-tailored suits. Jay reveals his humorous side in the song, stating, “Rich niggas, Black Bar-Mitzvahs / Mazel Tov! It’s a celebration bitches / L’Chaim!” He complements this phrase in the video by smashing a glass with his foot. (Does this mark the birth of a Jewish Jay?)

Also entertaining is the fact that Jay-Z has a youthful doppelganger present in various scenes. The actor has the same walk, the same talk, and a younger version of the same face. These traits all help to create a parallel of the young man and fully-formed rapper. The mini-Hova even has a belt buckle that says, “JAY.” How cute.

Both are quite the partiers, it seems. And they also run their respective blocks. The abrupt ending of both the party and the video is brought on by gunshots fired by mysterious, suited men. Look’s like the party is over—for now. The “to be continued...” cliffhanger supertitle gives us hope that another cameo-heavy video is on the way. I’ll be there.

—Erinn A. Westbrook
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