Jay Z speaks on the futility of fame first on the American Gangster cut Success.
Framing in the voice of Frank Lucas he shifts in the second half of his verse speaking on his own experiences.
“All this stress, all I got is this big house.
Couple of cars, I don’t even bring half of them shits out.
All of this Ace of Spades I drink just to piss out.
I mean, I like the taste, could’ve saved myself six thou’s
How many times can I go to Mr. Chow’s, Tao’s, Nobu?”
There’s an assumption that if you’re famous and rich that you don’t have any worries.
Not only that the public’s perception changes and their empathy for the artist goes down tremendously.
The question is why aren’t they happy?
I feel it’s because of the wrong focus.
If the pursuit is things then you’ll never be satisfied because once you get that car or house there will always be a next mountain or goal to attain.
Jim Carrey at the Golden Globes made a joke about being a two time Golden Globes winner and how when he dreams he dreams about being a three time winner, then he’ll be enough.
The joke highlights the futility of the pursuit.
Better yourself is great as well as being productive and improving your craft.
Having awards are great and the desire for them are healthy and natural but the self awareness I feel is the most important key.
Matt Damon on the Graham Norton show spoke of Oscar night after winning for Good Will Hunting.
He was so grateful, even then, that he received without backstabbing anyone.
He spoke about feeling sorry for those who’s life goal was receiving that statute and receiving it in old age then realizing it didn’t feel the hole inside you.
The greatest entertainer of all time, Michael Jackson, medicated and was on antidepressants.
He is recognized as the pinnacle of success, owning the music publishing catalog of half of Sony but he still needed drugs to numb out.
After the VMAs Kanye West went out of the country and when he came back made My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which explores the dark side of fame.
This project is reflective of his misconceptions and disappointment with how his career has played out.
On songs like Power he speaks of being suicidal and taking multiple drugs while “tripping off the powder”.
The wisest man who ever lived was blessed with wealth along with knowledge and in Ecclesiastes 1 Solomon writes that there’s “nothing new under the sun”.
This is after having a thousand women both wives and concubines and pursing whatever he desired.
He, in verse 14, says that all he’s seen is meaningless “like chasing the wind”.
Jesus Christ gives life meaning beyond the pursuit of riches and fame.
He calls us to have a new perspective of putting others before ourselves. And that giving is better than receiving.