All for Plato, screech
I’m out here balling, I know y'all hear my sneaks
Plato was Socrates' prime student, and essentially all we know of Socrates is solely represented by Plato’s writing. Socrates was an infamous gadfly: one who attempts to gain the attention of society, no matter how annoying the controversial screech is.
Jay has in the past called himself Plato to Biggie’s Socrates — it’s an idea he mentioned at the NYPL event supporting Decoded, but first came to him while visiting a Princeton seminar with Cornel West Here’s brother West:
Jay-Z did come to class as a result of that. He came to my class. And that was a moment: with Toni Morrison, [and] Phylicia Rashad was there, and it was me and [Professor] Eddie Glaude teaching. … [Jay-Z] was very quiet for the most part; he talked about how he had never, ever been … in a college seminar and it was a brand new experience for him and he enjoyed it; he loved the dialogue. I had been talking about Plato and Socrates and how he said I am going to preserve the memory of my teacher for as long as I live, and I am in deep mourning for Socrates who died unfairly, and I will make sure that the world never forgets that there was once a man named Socrates. And that’s when Jay-Z said: I am Plato to Biggie’s Socrates. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?
Jay-Z is attempting to do just this. Balling is an analogy to the action of him competing with society via his lyrics/lifestyle; hearing his sneaks is him saying that he has in fact had a legitimate effect on our society’s status quo, his screech.
Also, less academically hearing his sneaks could be a reference that when you play basketball, you can hear the players' sneakers screech against the (wooden) floor.
J.Cole or Ye would be Aristotle in this example. Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation would be The Academy. (Dreamville/G.O.O.D. would then be the Lyceum).
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