I put down the cans and they ran amok

from Jay Z – Picasso Baby Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

The word “cans” has two meanings here,

First up, Jay took off the headphones (cans). As he says this line, the music stops. Is Jay just taking us back to this “can drop”? If so, the line refers to Jay’s stint with retirement post-Black Album. In that case, “running amok” is a reference to the drop in quality in hip-hop after his “retirement.” If that’s the case, then he calls his headphones “cans” because he compares himself to Picasso, and paints comes in cans.

“Can” is also a slang term for gun, so Jay could be talking about putting down his guns, i.e. retiring from criminal activity. Once he was no longer a gangster, people attempted to exploit his weakness in music.

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