Great rap should have all kinds of unresolved layers that you don’t necessarily figure out the first time you listen to it.
Instead it plants dissonance in your head.
You can enjoy a song that knocks in the club or has witty punch lines the first time you hear it.
But great rap retains mystery. It leaves shit rattling around in your head that won’t make sense till the fifth or sixth time through. It challenges you. Which is the other reason hip-hop is controversial: People don’t bother trying to get it. The problem isn’t in the rap or the rapper or the culture. The problem is that so many people don’t even know how to listen to the music.
Excerpts From Jay Z’s DECODED