Why does Jay-Z have a song named after Tom Ford?

Colm Hayes

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“I don’t pop Molly, I rock Tom Ford.” An intriguing line from the above song, which is probably worth the 3 minutes and 14 seconds of your precious time. Plus, if it ever comes on in Coppers you can amaze your friends with your slick lip-sync skills. Not to mention the fact that girls are statistically more likely to shift a lad who can rap*.

Thomas Carlyle ‘Tom’ Ford is an American fashion designer. He also directed the Ocsar-nominated A Single Man. And naturally his suits are absolutely top-of-the-range if Jay-Z is layering up in them. Now, we’re all used to hearing brands mentioned in rap songs. However, it’s a huge endorsement to name an entire song after a brand. In fact, the last rap megastar to do so was one of Jay’s partners in crime and divider of opinion, Kanye West:

It’s highly likely, of course, that ‘Hova‘ is pocketing a nice wedge for the unique advertisement. However, this isn’t the first time Tom Ford has benefited from having such an esteemed client (his tuxedos get a shout out in Jay-Z’s collaboration with Justin Timberlake). Naming a whole song after a designer/brand/range of clothing is a whole different matter.

What does this Tom Ford reference really mean? There are two schools of thought on this matter. Tom Ford himself said in an interview that he had to go on rap translator to understand the meaning behind the words. He believes that “the message is quite positive, he doesn’t do drugs he wears Tom Ford, that’s how he get his high, so who doesn’t like that.”

Tom Ford
Tom Ford – Credit: Hot Gossip Italia

Does Jay-Z really get the same high from wearing a fine-tailored suit as his peers might get from ‘popping molly‘? The Guardian label this as a false dichotomy (yeah, me neither). This basically means that, if Tom Ford’s take on the lyrics is correct, Jay-Z is comparing chalk and cheese.

Urban Dictionary puts forward another theory that ‘rocking Tom Ford’ refers to snorting cocaine off of a table. This means that Jay-Z is basically asserting his dominance over lesser artists who do weaker drugs while he is on the hard stuff.

Jay-Z and Kanye
Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne tour – Credit: Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra

“I love that he gets a ‘high’ from my clothes.” Naturally, Tom Ford does not want his brand to be associated with drug use, even if it is being compared with it. This explains his stance on the matter, but the fact that he used a rap translator to decipher meaning in the lyrics says a lot (I know, I did too, but the song isn’t called ‘Colm Hayes’ is it).

Naming a song on his album Magna Carta Holy Grail after a designer is certainly a big statement, especially from a rap demigod like Jay-Z. It doesn’t seem fitting that the reference is purely a matter of expensive clothing. It’s not baller enough for the former drug dealer turned music superstar.

Only the Jigga Man really knows the answer
Only the Jigga Man really knows the answer – Credit: Michael Whitney

Tom Ford can profess the narcotising effect of his clothes all he likes. Personally, I think the urban dictionary explanation holds a lot more weight. That is my non-expert opinion, have your say here:

 

*I have no statistics to back this up; however, that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Colm Hayes