Who made you buy more shit?
The first of the many forgettable Jay Z/Beyoncé collaborations on Jay Z albums (more of that later), “03 Bonnie & Clyde” managed to be so forgettable that it became unforgettable. No one will ever forget how forgettable that song was (especially because they have a great collab out now, which makes a dud like this an even bigger head-scratcher). And yet. Despite the song’s aggressive forgettableness, the video impacted America in a way few others have.
If you recall, Beyoncé appeared wearing shoes that looked like someone got high, glued stiletto heels to a pair of butter Tims, and tried to smoke those shows. But before any of us could ask, “What the fuck did Tina design for her feet this time?,” Jay Z addressed our concerns:
“Manolo Blahnik Timbs, Aviator lens 600 drops, Hercedes Benz/The only time you wear Burberry to swim…”
Soon after the video premiered, you began to see these shoes. And by "see these shoes," I mean spot these fuckers like a paranoid schizophrenic finding signs of the moon hoax in his/her breakfast cereal. Which is to say, everywhere.
It didn’t matter that only 1% of them were actual Manolo Blahniks, or that 40% of them were Steve Madden knockoffs, or even that the other 59% were either bought at Rainbow or outside of a barbershop bathroom. For a period of three years, you could not leave the house without seeing a woman in a pair of brown or pink or blue or camo Timberland heels. One two-second appearance in one forgettable video for a forgettable song changed the footwear of an entire nation of women for 36 months. Which is a crazy, almost Manchurian Candidate-level of influence.
But this pales in comparison to what Jay Z did for phones.
Although the monstrosities we carry now suggest otherwise, there was a time when the smallest, slimmest, and sleekest cells were considered the best.
And then the “Excuse Me Miss” video happened. See, during the “Excuse Me Miss” video, Jay Z texts something on his T-Mobile Sidekick.
And then everybody wanted a T-Mobile Sidekick. Like, everybody. No one cared that the display was ivory and Matrix green, or that they broke 17 times a day, or even that you had to carry it in your pocket because having it on your belt clip would have given dozens of small children concussions.
It allowed you to text easily and get on the Internet and be the pretentious dick at the club checking ESPN in the middle of the dance floor because he knows it’ll have some misguided person thinking he's important even though he spent all his money on the latest replacement Sidekick.
Sidekicks eventually went out of style, but the phone's popularity indirectly led to the ubiquity of the cumbersome, do-everything smartphone—a trend that 1) has continued on for over a decade, and 2) can be indirectly traced back to Jay Z.