Jay Z loses his hyphen, world in shock

Grammarians are stunned by the punctuation shift

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published July 18, 2013 7:28PM (EDT)
Jay Z     (AP/Barry Brecheisen)
Jay Z (AP/Barry Brecheisen)

Jay Z may have 99 problems, but he's got zero hyphens. The man once known as Shawn Carter has quietly dropped the punctuation mark from his name.

Billboard editor Joe Levy broke the story Wednesday, announcing that Mr. Z's label has confirmed the hyphen obliteration. It must be going around – Kanye West is, to the heartache of old school hip-hop fans everywhere, currently selling wildly overpriced and devastatingly hyphen free "hip hop" T-shirts through APC.

No reason was given for Z's hyphen breakup, but considering all the other droppable things in his world: knowledge, microphones, singles, ownership in the Nets, perhaps it was inevitable.

What's most alarming about the hyphen disappearance is that it's been gone for a long time and we didn't even notice. Jay Z's publicist Jana Fleishman shrugged to Complex Thursday, "Dude. We haven't used the hyphen since 2010." Oh God, it's exactly like when you went back to your hometown and just assumed you'd hit your favorite Chinese restaurant but it closed like, five years ago. We may be late to the game, but we salute you, tiny punctuation mark. And we will never take you for granted again.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Jay-z Kanye West Punctuation