Does Jay-Z's New Lifestyle Website Suck?

Jay-Z, whom you might recall is Miami's most-wanted gangbanger, recently came to the realization that transitioning from an executive position in the music industry, owning a sports team, publishing a book, overseeing a clothing line, managing a bunch of clubs, and kicking it with Oprah wasn't enough to keep him busy.

So now he's decided to quietly start a website. 'Cause, you know, true world domination has to involve the virtual sphere. And also, he's probably running out of things to own. Well, other than British soccer teams.

Here are some of the posts on Jay-Z's lifeandtimes.com so far: a video tour of Indiana urban decay with until recently unsigned hype, Freddie Gibbs; interviews with Warpaint and Little Dragon; a video interview with New York City icon and former Interview punk writer Glenn O'Brien; an exclusive debut of Santigold's new track "Go"; and a random video of someone drawing on a sidewalk with chalk. 

The website has gotten mixed reviews. On opposite ends, New York magazine declared it a "serious endeavor" that is "bonkers" and Gawker likened it to Gwyneth Paltrow's website GOOP, which is "another rich person trying to tell us we're not good enough because we can't afford all the fancy things he likes." Gawker also thinks Jay-Z fans probably don't want to read interviews with chef Daniel Boulud. 

​I'm somewhere in the middle. It's not a cultural revolution, but it's got some good content. And Jay-Z fans definitely want to read interviews with chef Daniel Boulud because they are everyone from 45-year-old CEOs to President Obama. The hip-hop aesthetic has evolved beyond XXL or The Source. 

And I'm also not sure the comparison to GOOP, an upbeat, Daily Candy-esque newsletter website, makes much sense other than the fact both are headed by a celebrity. Jay-Z's lifeandtimes.com is creative visually; it looks like an exploded Tumblr account settled into puzzle pieces. And while GOOP aims to tell people what to "see," "get," and "do," Hov isn't tossing out mandates. His site is more like a storyboard of ideas, design, and left-field interviews, including one with Paltrow in which she claims to know all the words to N.W.A.'s "Fuck Tha Police." 

A better comparison would be Kanye West's now-defunct blog UniverseCity, which featured daily inspiration in the form of sneakers, paintings, and photographs. But that site's ultimate downfall was Ye's signature stream-of-consciousness diatribes in ALL CAPS WITH MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! 

So far, Hov's site has music you can't get anywhere else, interviews with notoriously reclusive people, and, if nothing else, pretty shit to look at. 

Full disclosure: I worked under Hov for a brief, weird period of our lives and thought he was a chill-ass executive. But that hasn't colored my opinion ... I still think Kingdom Come was weak. But that's for another day. 

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