Jeter, my dog, is fun to photograph because he gives amazingly expressive looks. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their big brown eyes and loving nature. Yet looking back at photos from Jeter’s first year, my mother noticed something disturbing. In several of the pictures, he looked downright mad. I attributed that partly to his lack of enthusiasm of me taking his picture. I could hardly blame him since often he was up to no good when I clicked my shutter. At times, he blatantly turned his head as ifhe was being chased down by the paparazzi. As much as Jeter seemed to love me, I was a bit of a kill joy. “Stop chewing your bed.” “No peeing in the house.” “I have to walk you on a leash.” “You have to sleep in a crate.” I knew what those looks were saying.
Before I put words to this photo, I decided to do some vetting of Jay-Z’s now infamous 99 Problems. Should I be offended? I didn’t realize the song’s history spanned two decades. Originally a song by Ice-T from his 1993 album Home Invasion, the track was more profane and sexually explicit. Jay-Z’s version was introduced on his 2004 The Black Album. This version used the title and chorus from Ice-T’s original but Jay-Z tells a story of dealing with music critics, racial profiling police and an adversary. He gives “bitch” a different meaning in each of the three verses including referring to a police dog.
The song was a critical and commercial success, winning a Grammy and MTV Video Music Award. Law professor Caleb Mason wrote an article on the song from a legal perspective. He analyzed the second verse about Jay-Z being stopped by police to reference the Fourth Amendment. He viewed it as a tool to teach students about search and seizure law.
Signed to Jay-Z’s record label, musician Hugo created a bluegrass cover of 99 Problems with different verses in 2011. In 2014, Ice-T re-recorded the original with the Jay-Z/Rick Rubin guitar riff for Body Count’s Manslaughter. Over the years, other artists from Eminem to Iggy Azalea have referenced the lyrics in songs.