Jay-Z vs. The Game: An International Relations Metaphor


International relations is a complicated subject. But contrary to what you might expect, applying foreign policy to the the rap world — specifically with Jay-Z, Nas, and The Game — is no less complex. Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy has done just this with his article, “Jay-Z vs the Game: Lessons for the American Primacy Debate.” Who’s ready to get cerebral about Hova? Highlights from the article after the jump.

Jay-Z as a hegemon:

…the limits on his ability to use this power recalls the debates about U.S. primacy. Should he use this power to its fullest extent, as neo-conservatives would advise, imposing his will to reshape the world, forcing others to adapt to his values and leadership? Or should he fear a backlash against the unilateral use of power, as realists such as my colleague Steve Walt or liberals such as John Ikenberry would warn, and instead exercise self-restraint?

Hova’s politics:

The changes in Jay-Z’s approach over the years suggest that he recognizes the realist and liberal logic… but is sorely tempted by the neo-conservative impulse.

The outcome of escalation, or “beef,” between two rival powers, Nas and Jay-Z.

In a world of unipolarity, both win through co-optation, reconciliation between enemies, and the demonstration that the gains of cooperation outweigh the gains of resistance.