Jay-Z takes to Twitter, offers fans advice on life, music, cereal

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Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic

Even though the coverage seems to have gone on for years, a mere five days have passed since users of a particular brand of smartphone (and anybody willing to illegally download music) first heard “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” the 12th solo album by Jay-Z. The record, which has received fair reviews, has been the focus of a massive TV ad campaign, voluminous Twitter and Facebook comments and many, many opinion pieces.

And through it all, Jay-Z’s been mostly silent, save for brief moments when he’s opined during the smartphone commercials. That changed Monday night, when the artist born Shawn Carter made himself available for questions through Twitter.

For about three hours Jay, who’s relatively inactive on the social media platform, shot back quickie responses to an avalanche of questions that ranged from simple to clever. He commented on old music and new rhymes, on songs’ themes and whatever else was on the fingertips of fans and detractors.


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For example, one early tweet from @aqua174 called out Jay and collaborator Frank Ocean for their song “Oceans,” which features a lyric describing an elephant tusk on the bow of a yacht. “Wait, isn’t poaching elephant tusks illegal, though? #oceans.

Jay’s response?

@Aqua174 yeah, so is lying about American history but, I def digress. *my laugh— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

Many of the Brooklyn-born rapper’s answers featured the tag, #factsonly, suggesting that this sort of communication is his way of eliminating distortions. For example, some may have thought the man was a Wheaties kind of guy. Not true at all.

RT @Timberflake27 Mr. Jay z what’s your favorite cereal? [cap’n crunch growing up. I haven’t had cereal in a bit #factsonly]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

He addressed the controversy about the invasive nature of the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” smartphone app:


RT @DylanByers What’s your reaction to Times charge that your MCHG rollout was invasive in its surveillance of your fans[sux must do better]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

He offered business advice:

RT @TinaciousAoun What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the music industry? #MCHG @S_C_ [run when people say “Worldwide smash”]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

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He commented on urban renewal in his hometown.

RT @smearedMASCARAA @S_C_ what’s your opinion on gentrified Brooklyn ? #MCHG [ buzzkill but, the world is changing, for better AND worse]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

At one point Miley Cyrus jumped in, and Jay-Z retweeted her.

RT @MileyCyrus Call it what you want. But I don’t see Mr. Carter shoutin any of you bitches out. #twerkmileytwerk [#factsonly]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013

He offered Zen advice on the perfect life:

RT @CNOBullshit @S_C_ what brings you peace. Whats a tip to find it?[acceptance.]— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013


And then, just like that, Jay-Z descended back into the mist.

That was fun, Peace all #factsonly— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) July 8, 2013


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