I look like I need a hole in my head as much as I need to hear Jay-Z and Alicia Keys sing about New York, again. I can’t be completely mad at “Empire State of Mind” because 42nd Street, Tribeca, and a few other parts of the city he’s namedropping aren’t even really neighborhoods anymore, much less places I’d find myself even if they were giving out free real estate. The only place I could ever possibly escape this record is at a Knicks game—where no song will lift their depression—or I could just leave Earth altogether.
Hov reserved a space for fairweather fans like me with a record like “Venus vs. Mars.” The best thing that Blueprint 3 album cut has going for itself is that the chorous says all the right words ladies need to hear when looking for a little encouragement taking their clothes off. “Shawty get it in, daddy go hard,” that’s strip club gold right there. But with a beat so sinister, sex is over my head. The round bulbous, crater-filled planets in our universe fascinate me more.
Call it my personal bias, but in my imagination I picture everything in New York, like the treatment for “Venus vs. Mars.” Music videos are an obsession for me. I would prefer that every CD I owned were a DVD, that way I could watch my favorite songs come to life. I pictured “Venus vs. Mars” as a collage of Spike Lee‘s greatest films showcasing love triangles, or complex relationships where it’s one man fighting against his temptation for two distinctly different women. Some of Spike’s best movies illustrate Jay-Z’s lyrics best: She Hate Me, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever. For the male subject, Mars Blackmon from She’s Gotta Have It juggles his wandering eyes for the leading ladies in the Spike productions. It’s a great idea, and I wish I did it, or at least if Spike Lee went into his archive, and hooked up a video for Jay-Z, one time. Hov’s official video has yet to be released so until then I defer to another New Yorker for inspiration, Woody Allen.
I didn’t have to search far for the perfect 3 minute clip. Allen is a sucker for a great love story, as am I. As neurotic and cynical he writes his screenplays, the museum scene in Manhattan is his Kubrick moment. You can’t ask for a better climactic moment between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. Already the film is shot in black and white, let alone they’re entering the Hayden Planetarium blanketed in darkness. At this point, Allen becomes aligned with Keaton, putting the “men from Mars, women from Venus” belief into focus. Here is my interpretation of Jay-Z’s “Venus vs. Mars” set in Woody Allen-vision.