I used to think I had a pretty good handle on Jay-Z's various business moves, but now I'm not sure what to think. It seems like every time I turn around he's signing another record deal, and the question is: why?

Part of it's probably that a lot of the news you hear about Jay-Z these days is bullshit. It finally got to the point where I wouldn't even bother reading any news, if it looked like it was about Jay-Z signing another deal. I only spent about five minutes bringing myself up to date with this mess just now, for the sake of not having to exert too much effort on a Friday afternoon. (It is Friday, right? I spent about half the day yesterday thinking it was Friday.)

The other day, Hits Daily Double reported that Diddy convinced Jay to sign with Warner Music Group, so he could go back to working with the original tall Israeli, Lyor Cohen, and it sounds like they might have pulled that one completely out of their ass. What is Hits Daily Double, anyway? I tried clicking on a link to it the other day, but then I was reminded you have to give them your email in order to access the site. Then, when you do, all it is is the same chart information from Billboard, and a buncha news that turns out to be bullshit anyway. They must sell your email to these assholes who flood your inbox with links to shitty mp3s and YouTube videos.

The latest Jay-Z news, according to this site's own crack news department (and by crack, I mean born addicted to), is that he has two new record deals. The Blueprint 3 will be released September 11th, the eighth anniversary of both the terrorist attacks and the original Blueprint, on Atlantic Records. He's gonna announce it this weekend at Hot 97's annual Summer Jam concert in New Jersey, even though you can already read about it all over the Internets. And I'm not sure if switching record labels (i.e. from one set of TIs to their cousins) is such a big deal that it warrants being announced at Summer Jam anyway. Maybe he figures that the crowd at Summer Jam is the kind of people who don't use the Internets, and might be interested in hearing some shit like that.

But Jay-Z's gonna have to do something at Summer Jam other than announce that his new album is gonna be released on a different label, right? This is the same stage where he brought out Michael Jackson (nullus), and introduced "The Takeover," and that picture of Prodigy in a tutu and ballet slippers. At the very least, he'd better perform a new song from the album, but he might want to consider dissing somebody. If the rest of the songs on The Blueprint 3 are anything like the last several Jay-Z songs, that alone might not cut it. I've long suspected that he secretly can't stand Kanye West, and the two of them aren't gonna be on the same label anymore, so this would be as good a time as any to air him out. Maybe he can can find a picture of him in women's clothes to put on the Jumbotron.

Speaking of Jay's label situation going forward, the other Jay-Z news this week was that his new Roc Nation vanity imprint will be distributed by Epic - the label his boy Michael Jackson used to be on. Seriously? Who in the fuck ever heard of Epic as a rap label? And how come it couldn't just be distributed by Atlantic, which is distributing the new Blueprint album, or Def Jam, for that matter? It could be that Epic is trying to establish itself as a rap label, and Jay conned them into paying a premium to distribute Roc Nation, even though it's almost certainly not gonna have any good artists. (All of the best artists on Roc-A-Fella were signed by Dame Dash. I think Jay might have brought Amil into the fold. No Boutros.) But if that was the case, then why didn't Epic get the new Blueprint album?

The last I heard, the deal with Epic wasn't final. Or at least it hadn't been officially confirmed. If it isn't a done deal, Epic might want to see about getting their money back. Shit, both of these labels. Lately, Jay seems to have more of a talent for getting people to cut him a check than anything else.