The Jay-Z Comma Seperator

Have any of you noticed how Jay is awesome at constructing consecutive bars with a pause, almost uniformly and maintaining his flow?  It’s probably my favorite aspect of Jay-Z’s rhyming, from a technical point of view.  Other rappers do it, sure, but nobody is as good as Jay at using pauses.  It adds a layer of complexity to his flow and is just really fun to listen to.  For example, on Izzo my favorite bars were when he said:

I was raised in the pro-jects, roaches and rats
Smokers out back, sellin they mama’s sofa
Lookouts on the corner, focused on the ave
Ladies in the window, focused on the kinfolk
Me under a lamp post, why I got my hand closed?
Cracks in my palm, watchin the long arm of the law

adfada

I LOVE those bars.  Flow-wise, he was in the pocket on this song.  Jay-Z is rarely not flowing well but I think lately, technically, he’s abandoning his style and going for what’s hot.  Either way, here’s (almost) every instance he did this on Blueprint. Enjoy!

************************************************************************************************

Your peeps ain’t strong enough, fucka — Roc-A-Fella is the army, better yet the navy
You situation is Bleek, I’ma keep it Rell cause — Fuckin with me, you gotta drop Amil
You little FUCK, I’ve got money stacks bigger than you — When I was pushin weight, back in eighty-eight
You fuckin up my high, don’t bother me dude — But Red Rover, send your hoes over
You don’t throw away what we had, just like that — I was just fuckin them girls, I was gon’ get right back
You bringin them Boyz II Men, HOW them boys gon’ win? — This is grown man B.I., get you rolled into triage
Yellow wrist watch, Gucci flip flops — Six top model chicks, who is this hot?
Ya’ll whole block deserted, ya’ll fiends are gone (bye bye!) — The whole Roc is jumpin’, we reached our zenith
Ya’ll niggas in the crosshair, the beams is on (see ya’ll) — Ya’ll whole block deserted, ya’ll fiends are gone (bye bye!)
Y-Z, mami why you playin with me? — Ride with me, get high as me
Word on the skreet, you reap what you sew — Not out of fear but love, love for the game
Where Malcolm X was shot, where Martin Luther was popped — So off we go, let the trumpets blow
Wear a G on my chest, I don’t need Dapper Dan — This ain’t a sewn outfit homes, homes is about it
We knee deep in coke, we ki deep in ice — We flood streets with dope, we keep weed to smoke
We flood streets with dope, we keep weed to smoke — We all fish, better teach your folk
We can play HOWEVER, slay bed or sofa — And the prognosis, sex is explosive
We bring – knife to fistfight, kill your drama — Uh, we kill you motherfuckin ants with a sledgehammer
We all fish, better teach your folk — Give him money to eat, then next week he’s broke
Watchin Bonnie and Clyde, pretendin to be that shit — Empty gun in your hand sayin, “Let me see that clip”
Wasn’t born hustlers, I was birthin ’em — H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
Unless you was me, how could you judge me? — I was brought up in pain, y’all can’t touch me
Top like a rock star, I got a fast car — We can cruise the city, doin a buck-sixty
To try and to fail, the two things I hate — Succeed in this rap game, the two things that’s great
to choose one from [too many ladies, ha] — I’m tryin’ girls out, just tryin’ girls out
Though I can’t let you know it, pride won’t let me show it — Pretend to be heroic, that’s just one to grow with
This is Jay, everyday — Who you know like Hov’, nigga?
This is grown man B.I., get you rolled into triage — Beatch – your reach ain’t long enough, dunny
They’ll have to hold a mass, put your body in a hole — No, you’re not on my level get your brakes tweaked
Then you dropped “Shook Ones,” switch your demeanor — Well – we don’t believe you, you need more people
The cream too long, my team too strong — Bleek is too hot, Beans is gone
That’s when our signals got crossed, and we got flipped — Rather mine, I don’t know what made me leave that shit
That’s what you promised me, since the (?)lee — Along with, if we stay strong
That’s one every let’s say two, two of them shits was due — One was – NAHHH, the other was “Illmatic”
That means I fly rough early, plus I know Tae-bo — That means I’m new school, pop pills and stay in beef
Sure I do, I tell you the difference between me and them — They tryin to get they ones, I’m tryin to get them M’s
Succeed in this rap game, the two things that’s great — H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
So yeah I sampled your voice, you was usin it wrong — You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song
So off we go, let the trumpets blow — And hold on, because the driver of the mission is a pro
Smokers out back, sellin they mama’s sofa — Lookouts on the corner, focused on the ave
Six top model chicks, who is this hot? — J-A, ladies help me say it now
Shoppin sprees, pull out your Visa quick — A nigga had very bad credit, you helped me lease that whip
She thinks she’s Bo Derek, wear her hair in a twist — _Ma cherie amore, tu es belle_
She like, “Why you don’t buy me Reeboks no more?” — Like to show out in public, throw tantrums on the floor
She can leave WHENEVER, sip somethin with Hova — We can play HOWEVER, slay bed or sofa
She can do WHATEVER, sip somethin with soda — She can leave WHENEVER, sip somethin with Hova
Roc-A-Fella is the army, better yet the navy — Niggaz’ll kidnap your babies, spit at your lady
Rather mine, I don’t know what made me leave that shit — Made me speed that quick, let me see – that’s it
R.O.C., we runnin this rap shit — Memphis Bleek, we runnin this rap shit
Puffin on L’s, drinkin pink champelle — Ty rolled with a nigga, V.A. spot
Primo laced me, Ski did too — “Reasonable Doubt” – classic, shoulda went triple
Pop toasters, and they live with they moms — Got dropped roasters, from botched robberies niggaz crotched over
Pockets filled with a lot of lint, not a cent — Gotta vent, lot of innocent of lives lost on the project bench
plus – Hov’ don’t run, Hov’ stand and fight — Hov’s a soldier, Hov’ been fightin all his life so
Or might take sips of army with a chidd-ick, I’m so sick widdit — Lampin in the Hamptons, the weekends man
On repeat, the CD of Big’s “Me and My Bitch” — Watchin Bonnie and Clyde, pretendin to be that shit
Oh, can’t forget my man down in Maryland — He’s gone ’til November, how can I not remember?
Off we go, let the trumpets blow — And hold on, because the driver of that Bentley is a pro
O & Sparks, we runnin this rap shit — Freeway, we run this rap shit
Now now, that’s when you start to stare at who’s in the mirror — and see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrased
Not out of fear but love, love for the game — Roc family first, we never change mayn
Not guilty, he who does not feel me — is not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist
Niggaz’ll kidnap your babies, spit at your lady — We bring – knife to fistfight, kill your drama
Niggaz, where’s the love? — “Ain’t no love, in the heart of town..”
Nigga I’ll step on your porch, step to your boss — Let’s end the speculation, I’m talkin to alla y’all
Money pourin in, clientele growin now — Birth of my first nephew, time to slow it down
Momma loved me, pop left me — Mickey fed me, Annie dressed me
Momma loved me, pop left me — Grandma dressed me, plus she fed me
Mind from spirit, body from soul — They’ll have to hold a mass, put your body in a hole
Mickey fed me, Annie dressed me — Eric fought me, made me tougher
Mickey cleaned my ears, Annie shampooed my hair — Eric was fly – shit, I used to steal his gear
Memphis Bleek, we runnin this rap shit — B. Mac, we runnin this rap shit
Media scapegoat, who they can be mad at today — See it’s easy as cake, simple as whistlin Dixie
Me under a lamp post, why I got my hand closed? — Cracks in my palm, watchin the long arm of the law
M-Easy, we runnin this rap shit — The Broad Street Bully, we runnin this rap shit
M-Easy, we runnin this rap shit — The Broad Street Bully, we runnin this rap shit
Lookouts on the corner, focused on the ave — Ladies in the window, focused on the kinfolk
Like to show out in public, throw tantrums on the floor — Gotta toss a couple dollars, just to shut up her holla
light kinda dark, short sorta tall — slim, kinda thick I swear I love ’em all
Ladies in the window, focused on the kinfolk — Me under a lamp post, why I got my hand closed?
Labels turned me down, couldn’t foresee — Clark sought me out, Dame believed
Knocked a nigga off his feet, but I crawled back — Had A-1 credit, got more crack
Just what I was feeling at the time, uhh — You ever felt like this, you vibe with me
J-A, ladies help me say it now — Y-Z, mami why you playin with me?
itinerary, but since I tend to vary see — I tend to carry, more rumors than ten Mariah Careys
isn’t this great, my flight leaves at eight — her flight lands at nine, my game just rewinds
is not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist — So poof — vamoose, son of a bitch!
If, I’m not a hustler what you call that? — This is before rap, this is all fact
I’m unstoppable Hov’, untoppable flows — I’m the compadre, the Sinatra of my day
I’m the compadre, the Sinatra of my day — Ol’ Blue Eyes my nigga, I did it my way
I’m on TV every day, where the fuck could I go to — plus – Hov’ don’t run, Hov’ stand and fight
I’m lookin for, southern girl that cook like Patti LaBelle — big ghetto booty, scarf over doobie
I’m like, at this rate ma you never graduate — she said, I aint no fool I make it up in summer school
I’m like excuse me Ms. Fufu, but when I met your ass — you was dead broke and naked, and now you want half
I’m a eighty-eighter, nine-six to “Reasonable Doubt” — Temper short, don’t take much to squeeze you out
I will end it, all that yappin be finished — You are not deep, you made your bed now sleep
I was raised in the pro-jects, roaches and rats — Smokers out back, sellin they mama’s sofa
I was brought up in pain, y’all can’t touch me — Police pursued me, chased cuffed and subdued me
I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell — I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well
I penetrate pop culture, bring ’em a lot closer to the block where they — pop toasters, and they live with they moms
I got this young chick, she so immature — She like, “Why you don’t buy me Reeboks no more?”
I got this black chick, she don’t know how to act — Always talkin out her neck, makin her fingers snap
I don’t want much, fuck I drove every car — Some nice cooked food, some nice clean drawers
I don’t slack a minute, all that thug rappin and gimmicks — I will end it, all that yappin be finished
I don’t care if you Mobb Deep, I hold triggers to crews — You little FUCK, I’ve got money stacks bigger than you
I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well — I was born to get cake, move on and switch states
Hov’!  And so I breeze through, jeans is Evisu — She’s respondin, top of C. Bronson
Had A-1 credit, got more crack — From the first to the fifth, gave it all back
Ha ha ha ha ha.. uh-oh, uh-oh – whoo! — Ladies and gentlemen.. H, to the Izzo
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A — What else can I say about dude, I gets bu-sy
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A — Not guilty, he who does not feel me
Grandma dressed me, plus she fed me — banana puddin, what’s in the hood then
Gotta vent, lot of innocent of lives lost on the project bench — Whatchu hollerin? Gotta pay rent, bring dollars in
Gotta toss a couple dollars, just to shut up her holla — Got a project chick, that plays her part
Got that rap patrol behind yo, get to runnin — I’m unstoppable Hov’, untoppable flows
Give him money to eat, then next week he’s broke — Cause when you sleep, he’s reachin for your throat
From the first to the fifth, gave it all back — If, I’m not a hustler what you call that?
Freeway, we runnin this rap shit — O & Sparks, we runnin this rap shit
Eric was fly – shit, I used to steal his gear — I was the baby boy, I could do no wrong
Empty gun in your hand sayin, “Let me see that clip” — Shoppin sprees, pull out your Visa quick
Doo-rag wrappin my waves up, pockets full of hope — Do not step to me – I’m awkward, I box leftier often
Do not step to me – I’m awkward, I box leftier often — My pops left me an orphan, my momma wasn’t home
Cops wanna knock me, D.A. wanna box me in — But somehow, I beat them charges like Rocky
Clark sought me out, Dame believed — Primo laced me, Ski did too
Chanell under the louie, Gucci over booty — Vicki covered titties, attitude of the city
Cause when you sleep, he’s reachin for your throat — Word on the skreet, you reap what you sew
Carry a big clip, that’ll get niggaz off me — Keep coke in coffee, keep money smellin mothy
But somehow, I beat them charges like Rocky — H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
But Red Rover, send your hoes over — She can do WHATEVER, sip somethin with soda
Brought in weed, got rid of that dirt for them — Wasn’t born hustlers, I was birthin ’em
Bleek is too hot, Beans is gone — Ya’ll niggas in the crosshair, the beams is on (see ya’ll)
Birth of my first nephew, time to slow it down — October 21st, Lavelle came to the world
big ghetto booty, scarf over doobie — Chanell under the louie, Gucci over booty
Beatch – your reach ain’t long enough, dunny — Your peeps ain’t strong enough, fucka
banana puddin, what’s in the hood then — Puffin on L’s, drinkin pink champelle
B. Sigel, we runnin this rap shit — M-Easy, we runnin this rap shit
B. Mac, we runnin this rap shit — Freeway, we run this rap shit
And the prognosis, sex is explosive — Left her with wet bedsheets, nigga I’m focused
and live in a movie, not livin by rules — New rap patrollin the city, follow my crews
And if I ain’t better than Big, I’m the closest one — So move over – hoes, choose Hova
And I won’t surrender it with, beats by Timbaland — Calle-te la boca, my baby
I come scoop you in that Coupe, sittin on deuce-zeroes —       Fix your hair in the mirror, let’s roll – c’mon
I never change, this is always me — From the womb to the tomb, from now until my doom
“Friend or Foe,” y’all all my muh’fuckers — If you haven’t heard, I’m Michael Magic and Bird
’til the wheels fall off, y’all muh’fuckers check the tires — Off we go, let the trumpets blow
_Ma cherie amore, tu es belle_ — Merci, you fine as fuck but you givin me hell

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5 thoughts on “The Jay-Z Comma Seperator

  1. caqlilow says:

    Not guilty, he who does not feel me.

    Wow never actually noticed the comma separator like that. Technically, that would mean that Hov went in on Blueprint.

    Man, I coulda swore Jay’s bars in Monster (Remix) had some of this style in it.

    “Niggas wonder what my achilles heel is, LOVE/
    I don’t get enough of it, all I get is these vampires and bloodsuckers/ All I see is the niggas I made millionares, millin about spillin they feelins in the air”

    Mad sublimnals in that too but thats another can of worms.

  2. Genuine Rap God says:

    I’ve also noticed this. It adds a lot to his flow. Another reason why I think he has the best flow in the rap game…

  3. ihave4eyes says:

    I think writing like this makes for good live perfomances….Jayz breath control is awesome and it seems so conversational because of it…

  4. John FP says:

    What you’re talking about is called cadence, there’s a word for it, and a guy you constantly bag on (Royce 5’9″) is well touted as the best at it… Jay-Z is terrible in every conceivable way.

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