A Speculative List Of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems

  1. Awkward street cred issues re: recent events with “the 99%.”
  2. Discomfort with monogamy and upcoming fatherhood, esp. w/in the context of being a very powerful individual (i.e. sex from whoever he desires widely available yet unattainable due to moral obligation).
  3. Increasing existential distress re: fatherhood, fame, identity, public image.
  4. Trouble figuring out which is the healthiest cooking oil.
  5. Irritating eczema between index, middle and ring fingers during change of seasons and humid weather, exacerbated by high temperatures and showering; especially irritating in the middle of the night.
  6. Worries about bad breath.
  7. Sometimes ‘forced’ by Beyonce to “Facetime” via iPad with in-laws; finds this excruciating; almost impossible to maintain any semblance of enthusiasm while doing so.
  8. Zipper on favorite backpack (irreplaceable b/c found in an eclectic thrift shop in east Berlin) consistently ‘jams’ for unknown reasons, seems to be getting worse.
  9. Kicked out of his own bar a month ago in shameful, drunken loss of control.
  10. Detection of flowering, toxic claustrophobia/ fears of not being able to ‘get out’ when in group settings in which others would notice signs of anxiety and nervousness such as excessive sweating, heavy panting, body odor, fidgeting, and repeated swallowing.
  11. Life + Times intern extremely sexually attractive, unsure feelings about how to navigate that re: wife.
  12. Strange pain in upper left corner of abdomen whenever hungry (suspected peptic ulcer).
  13. Worries about drinking enough water.
  14. Toilet in one of the men’s stalls at the 40/40 New York experiencing unseemly clogging issues.
  15. Persistent anxieties regarding making the ‘right’ decision and simultaneous increasing feelings of confusion about concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ made esp. troubling by comparison to pre-fame days, when almost always confident in ‘gut instinct’ and rarely questioned decision-making abilities.
  16. Fear of flying, near-panic and severe nausea during episodes of turbulence.
  17. Unexplained bouts of insomnia.
  18. During bouts of insomnia, genuine, hours-long experiences of fear/ despair that future plans will lead to irredeemable failure and chronic unhappiness, coupled with toxic analytical spirals that further exacerbate inability to sleep.
  19. On Steve Jobs’ bad side when he passed away.
  20. Random, unwelcome visual images of Beyonce performing oral sex on Kanye West, Kanye West having intercourse ‘doggy style’ with Beyonce, and, sometimes, Kanye West’s penis.
  21. Growing addiction to Coke and Mountain Dew.
  22. Worries about posture coupled with angst/ disdain for the fact that good posture is difficult to maintain.
  23. Distress/ distaste about own uneven facial hair pattern.
  24. Major losses of productivity due to recent near-obsessive consumption of cat videos.
  25. Tired feelings of jealousy and resentment for Ryan Gosling; sharp, anxious desire to keep Beyonce away from him at all costs to prevent any possible affair (+ refusal to admit any of this to self).
  26. Unwelcome, distracting, and time consuming psychic digressions and fantasizing concerning, for the most part, a girlfriend he had when he was 22 years old.
  27. Unwanted resentment for Beyonce.
  28. Worries re: porn addiction.
  29. Extreme fear of spiders.
  30. Not enough alone time.
  31. Drinking more than a glass of wine before bedtime disrupts normal sleeping patterns and causes waking around 3 a.m., after which insomnia will often ensue, often leading to problem described in (18).
  32. Kanye’s personality so hyper-aware and self-absorbed it’s begun to cause physical anxiety and slight waves of nausea when in his presence, especially after difficult days in the studio.
  33. Worries regarding ‘letting himself go,’ in terms of moral values and physical health.
  34. Increasing trouble accepting the true existence of ‘authenticity,’ of which his identity has been largely based.
  35. Still unable to get through Joyce’s Ulysses; currently on his fourth attempt; contributes to an insecurity that holds he’s “not good enough” and “not intellectual.”
  36. Three-week long stalemate with Beyonce regarding a particular baby name.
  37. Fear of saying close to anything about women due to expected backlash from the internet feminist militancy.
  38. Favorite pair of pants have inexplicably not fit ‘right’ for the past month or so.
  39. Concerns about sufficient protein and omega-3s intake.
  40. Unable to discern if recent stomach issues due to lactose intolerance or some other food allergy.
  41. Current income seems ‘weak’ compared to the GNP of the US, other Western powers.
  42. Increasing inability to stay awake longer than five minutes after beginning to read a book.
  43. Anonymous identity on formspring.me keeps asking “y r u gay” and variations of that theme, repeatedly, and has been for close to ~four months.
  44. Shame for having engaged in a small-scale, petty argument with Ellen Degeneres last week.
  45. Strange, growing obsession with Craigslist Missed Connections and the desire to tweet and text ‘cock shots.’
  46. Troubling, awkward moment with Scarlett Johansson last Friday at NPR studio after a confusingly difficult, nervewracking spat of witty banter spiraled out of control, culminating in a desperate attempt to come off as at least slightly charismatic by joke-asking if he and Scarlett should both go into the studio and have sex, to which Scarlett averted her eyes and laughed and said “Uh, no thanks,” and he laughed nervously, obviously extremely upset at this point.
  47. Awkward issues regarding the fact that his cleaning staff is ~80% African American, many living in Bed-Stuy.
  48. Writer’s block.
  49. Gossip blogs.
  50. Innate tendency to suppress all hints of enthusiasm when meeting new people — makes people think he’s “depressed all the time,” and wonder if they came off the wrong way.
  51. Increasing realization that he has a serious lack of concrete skills, such as farming, furniture building, first-aid, beer brewing, etc.
  52. Confusion regarding how frequent one should use Q-tips to remove earwax, due to information he read that stated, more or less, that Q-tips were damaging because earwax had specific, important functions to ear health and bodily orientation and that the removal of earwax simply stimulated the production of more earwax, rendering Q-tip usage asinine.
  53. PayPal terms of service and customer service equally horrible and difficult to understand.
  54. Still unable to defeat final boss on Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 3.
  55. Quickly disintegrating upkeep of dental hygiene due to feelings of meaningless and apathy.
  56. Navel lint.
  57. Confusion regarding the moist towelettes vs. dry toilet paper debates via recently hearing moist towelettes were for some reason bad.
  58. Trouble discerning which types of socks are in fashion.
  59. Consistently unable to choose apples, avocados and cantaloupes at the store — they generally turn out to be mealy, too soft, or too hard.
  60. Sudden ‘attacks’ of discomfort with physical closeness with Beyonce.
  61. Very strange smell in Range Rover.
  62. No time to read anymore.
  63. Worries about experience of no sense of ‘place’ or ‘home’; feelings of belonging ‘nowhere,’ esp. in regard to American and European cities which lead to a sort of uncanny experience of ‘floating’ and meaninglessness at each house purchased.
  64. Trouble choosing NFL team to root for as a cause of the feeling described above.
  65. Consistent desire to drink more alcohol, on weeknights, than Beyonce non-verbally allows.
  66. Repeated worries regarding the end of industrial society via peak oil videos on YouTube, related literature.
  67. Chapped lips.
  68. A growing sense of lactose intolerance.
  69. Despite love of dogs, completely unable to train them since childhood, eventually resulting in frequent, embarrassing ‘pee’ and ‘poop’ incidents in his various residences, many times while guests are over.
  70. Realization that own happiness has come to rely in large part on external circumstances such as other people’s validation, rather than an inwardly driven agenda of contentedness.
  71. Several long-term Gchat relationships with attractive females seems like they will never overcome the ‘IRL’ barrier b/c of crushing feelings of expectation and fear of the gap between online and IRL behavior.
  72. Increasing severity of claustrophobia/ nausea ‘loops’ that threaten vomiting/ panic-attacks in public situations while hungover.
  73. Disparity b/t morning coffee preferences in combination with Beyonce insisting that they have breakfast and coffee together every morning leading to being ‘forced’ to drink watered down, half-caff coffee maker coffee, rather than the preferred full-strength french press coffee.
  74. Beyonce insists on fine grain Morton brand salt when sea salt flakes are obviously better.
  75. Increasing inability to maintain eye-contact with various alphas.
  76. Unable to control giving off ‘shaming vibes’ in the presence of over-enthusiastic behavior.
  77. Public logical defeat at the hands of Stevie Wonder, his autism making the associated shame all the more disturbing.
  78. Pandora’s ‘Classical’ radio station often plays ‘easy listening’/ modern nu-jazz/ sappy piano ballads that are so far removed from actual Classical music that earnest offense is taken.
  79. Recent series of acne breakouts on area between eyebrows, the creases of nose, and back.
  80. Continuing toxic shame re: incident three months ago in which Tina Fey told him he had coffee breath.
  81. Recently discovered higher thread count on bedding indicated softer sheets; for some reason always assumed lower thread count was softer and as such has been sleeping on less-than-ideal sheets for pretty much entire life.
  82. Still has yet to fart in front of Beyonce due to embarrassment, but feels that it “has to” happen in order to “break through” to some abstract notion of a “new level of the relationship.”
  83. Recently realized certain aspects of what he thought was his identity were actually just uncontrollable delusions lacking any concrete behavior as evidence of their truth and significance.
  84. Typical behavior from Beyonce to unsolicitedly, unexpectedly say to “smile” or to “cheer up,” when feeling as if simply minding own business, neutral and/or even slightly positive.
  85. Mother constantly taking the side of Beyonce in any perceived relationship quarrel made known to her.
  86. iPhone 4S disappointing battery life.
  87. Limits of the philosophy behind consumerism almost constantly making themselves felt despite any real cognizance regarding alternative ways of life or systems of thought, thus feeling mired in a sort of fog of meaningless, or, as recently put, “drowning in an ocean of sh-t.”
  88. The impossibility of knowing which shampoos and conditioners are ‘truly’ the ‘right’ ones.
  89. Despite nutritionist advice, inability to wean himself off of Hungryman microwavable dinners.
  90. Frustration due to limited options for hairstyle (currently include ‘bald’ and ‘afro’ and ‘not an afro’).
  91. Seemingly uncontrollable tendency to put on way too much cologne.
  92. Uncomfortable with excessive @replying on Twitter, despite the fact that Beyonce demands in-public, often-revealing dialogue over said medium.
  93. Desire to be more ‘well-read’ never backed up or fulfilled by actual reading.
  94. Attention span seems to have dropped drastically such that now most time on the internet is spent looking at memes on reddit and 4chan, consistently passing up articles longer than 100 words.
  95. Convinced that Lil’ Wayne’s enthusiasm when around is actually a drawn out inside joke/ mockery among Lil’ Wayne and his entourage.
  96. Grossed out by the fact that hands and arms sometimes smell vaguely like garlic in the morning.
  97. Strong, random, distracting desires for fried, cheesy things at inopportune moments, such as award ceremonies and commencement speeches.
  98. Weekly, forced attendance to Chick-Flick Night with Beyonce and members of Destiny’s Child.
  99. Has yet to master the art of cooking the perfect steak.
TC mark

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  • Anonymous

    chapped lips would be a major problem for jay-z, after all his lips are eating his face slowly.

    • juanpancake

      also, pussy

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    “Real thick and juicy but you cant stand looking at him when he’s on top.” Infamous rap groupie Superhead on Jay-Z’s real problem.

  • Adolf Hipster

    I thought this was gonna be absolutely awful just based on the title, but this was really really well done. Poor Hov :(

  • Leigh

    dude bsg this is brilliant 

  • that guy

    well, if we’re gonna go there, b-tches seem to account for problems 7, 11, 20, 25, 26, 27, 36, 60, 71, 73, 74, 82, 84, 85, 92 and 98, and depending on your feelings, 32 as well.

    • Anonymous

      was working off the premise that jay-z doesn’t consider his wife a bitch. kanye, maybe.

    • Anonymous

      Dang, I made a similar list while reading this for nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    I loved this. I always was curious what the 99 problems could possibly be! hah

  • Brandonscottgorellsucks

    look, it’s a neurotic white male 20-something disguised as Jay-Z!!!!! GREAT JOB BSG UR PERSPECTIVE IS SO FRESH & UNIQUE

    • gary

      Oh, right, because it’s all of a sudden COMPLETELY INCONCEIVABLE when a (fake) brown person seems to express neurosis/timidity in their feelings.

  • Sophia

    Lol, skimmed this and only noticed “Chapped lips.” Which for some reason made me laugh

  • Leslienkyle

    Excellent piece. Also spot on…#70 is why I think it would be so impossibly difficult to be famous…and it explains why so many of them lose their shit. Then it is just cyclical from there once they’ve lost it….no thanks but more power to them. It’s easier to criticize when you are on the outside looking in.

  • Josh Gondelman

    This is one of my favorite things that has ever been made out of words.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      Agreed. Also, makes listening to the song that lists far fewer than 99 problems nearly impossible.

  • http://twitter.com/ginger_m_face Erin

    Favorite: 51. “Increasing realization that he has a serious lack of concrete skills,
    such as farming, furniture building, first-aid, beer brewing, etc.”

  • BONER

    this is awesome, i am convinced number 95 is the most awesome

  • http://profiles.google.com/the.absterged.one buttercup mcgillicuddy

    haven’t finished this yet… have to go… but like… seems good… laughing…

  • petecities

    list starts to sound like a HRO throwback. making me ‘doubt’ the ‘authenticity’ of the writer’s ‘wit’   

  • RenaissanceGrrl

    Um. He expressly says “a bitch ain’t one,” but like half of these problems revolve around various women in his life…

  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

    oh my love you

  • Cjaliwa

    Did anyone comment on how problem number 2 is actual a b–ch problem?

  • Guest

    I mean this author clearly doesn’t know anything about Jay-Z which makes it a lot less funny for people who actually have read his writing or know anything about him outside of his physical appearance, the fact that he raps, is an African-American, and is married to Beyonce. I thought this would be funny based on the title but it’s under-developed and undeserving of being on the top 25 articles of the year.

    • guest

      ^^^ serious jay-z fan

  • guest

    hahaha

  • a person

    70, 83 and 87 scare me in their relevance to my life.

    • yesh

      whoa now, calm down.

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