Most savvy artists are aware that if you precede a current trend with “death of” in order to create a song title, it will inspire not a little controversy. Jay-Z is one of the most savvy cats in Hip-Hop. He’s intelligent, charismatic, wealthy beyond all measure, yet continues to pussyfoot around the topic of his song “Death of Auto-Tune.” He likes to ignore the gravity of having a well-known figure in Hip-Hop take a hard position on a topic that has polarized fans of the music by saying things like “I didn’t know it’d be a cultural dispute.” Jay-Z, it was a cultural dispute before the song was released, so you can miss me with that nonsense. Also, “D.O.A.” wasn’t some gentle reminder that Hip-Hop needs to be more original, it was aggressive and confrontational, which is why so many people appreciated it. His continued passive-aggressiveness about his own song is exhausting.
“I really just wanted to send a message to rap; I didn’t know it’d be a cultural dispute. I really wanted to have the conversation, like “are we just going to sound like each other? Everyone’s going to sound the same? That’s what we’re gonna do? Don’t ya’ll know this is dangerous? And this is just how rock and roll got pushed from the forefront?” We did this to rock and roll. Everyone was doing the hair-band thing on MTV with the tight pants. They all had the big hair, just different colored tights. It just became about more of a look and a sound than the emotion of the music. And that’s what hip-hop’s becoming. It’s losing the emotion — you can’t have emotion in the robotic voice. I can’t feel anything! And then everyone sounds the same. I really wanted to have the conversation amongst us. And it went outside the culture.”
“Jay-Z on DJ Hero, ‘D.O.A.,’ and His Future Career As a Bar Mitzvah Performer” — Vulture