Can't step in my pants, can't walk in my shoes
Bet everything you're worth, you'll lose your tie and your shirt
Jay-Z’s music helps ghetto kids to get through their tough lives, not critics' album reviews and articles. Critics could never do what Jay does
The “tie and your shirt” reference is another dig at critics' disconnect from the ghetto as they sit in their office buildings, and it revitalizes the otherwise banal “lose your shirt.” But it also means that this is all their worth — their “tie and shirt,” their appearance. They’ve got nothing else to contribute to the world, while Jay-Z (as said in the last line) helps kids survive the ghetto life through his music.
In Decoded jay explains this line saying; “This is meant both literally and figuratively — the critic. I’m imagining here is a suit and tie sort of guy who literally doesn’t dress like me. But he also can’t wear the life I’ve worn, and if he tried to step in my shoes, walked the stressed I’d walked, he’d lose that tie and shirt, not just his clothes but that smug attitude they represent.”
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