Leigh Owens: Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values (participation)

Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values

Super rapper Jay-Z and his recent comments regarding the Occupy movement are a great example of the unfortunate shift within the Hip-Hop culture from representing the poor and disenfranchised to essentially shunning them. In a New York Times Magazine profile the Jiggaman had this to say about the Occupy movement.

“What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for? I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?”

Clearly Jay-Z is intelligent enough to know that the basic premise behind the Occupy movement is the disproportionate distribution of wealth in America and the excessive greed by Wall Street bankers, which is the primary catalyst for this country’s economic woes, particularly the growing poor class, both working and not. Not to mention that Jay-Z’s Rockafella clothing line began producing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ shirts and refused to donate any of the profits to the movement he was stealing from. The king of Hip-Hop is also the king of what’s wrong with Hip-Hop.

What was once a music and culture for and about the struggles of young, urban rebels, who used music, dance and art to express themselves and fight against a system that had forgotten them, has become a culture that glorifies, defends and aspires to be the 1 percent that was once considered the oppressor. Jay’s stance on the Occupy movement is reflective of GOP talking points, particularly evident in further comments he made on the subject.

“When you just say that ‘the one percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”

What is even sadder about the comments made by Jay-Z, who seemed to almost chastise the Occupy movement, is that their political ideology, which on a large scale involved more even distributions of wealth, was a huge part of Che Guevara’s ideology, the Argentine revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro overthrow the Cuban Government in 1959, a man whose image Jay-Z wore on a t-shirt several years ago during an MTV performance, which caused a huge trend amongst young people.

Rapper Nicki Minaj is also a great example of the tragedy that is mainstream Hip-Hop. Minaj, a highly successful female rapper made headlines recently for lyrics she delivered endorsing Mitt Romney for president.

“I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney/You lazy [expletive] is [expletive] up the economy,” Minaj says on the Lil Wayne track entitled “Mercy.’

Although Minaj later denied that she is a supporter of Mitt Romney, the potential damage that follows rap lyrics such as these, particularly within the current political climate, can be damaging, particularly to a campaign that seeks to help the primary audience of these songs.

It is no secret that Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and other rappers who use the often troubled conditions of their upbringing and the many stories which follow to sell records and essentially catapult to the one percent have much more to gain by a Mitt Romney presidency and the complete demise of the Occupy movement and any similar entity that threatens to take its place.

The driving force behind the hip-hop movement has been lost in a culture of manipulation, exploitation and subjugation. The culture itself no longer needs to strive for a seat at the table, but like many success stories, the successful often forget where they come from. Jay-Z’s descent into the one percent abyss is the final chapter in a tragic drama that has been many years in the making, yet he has paved the way for many talented, aspiring artists to promote the same poisonous messages, while indoctrinating an entire generation of youth with uninformed, flawed ideologies.

Rapper Chuck D of the group Public Enemy recently called out Jay-Z and Kanye West for lyrics which promote material wealth, but are less reflective of the rappers primary fan base, who in too many cases are young disenfranchised people of color, who cannot even afford the concert tickets for these artists.

Chuck D was responsible for bringing a form of Hip-Hop into the mainstream which encouraged organizing, self love and unity,. His group Public Enemy represented a crossroads in Hip-Hop, in which the current form of the culture eventually prevailed.

Hip-Hop culture has often been criticized for being materialistic, violent and oversexed, however Jay-Z’s comments about the Occupy Movement reveal mainstream Hip-Hop’s extreme love affair with capitalism. What was once a revolution has become a mistress of the one percent mantra.

via Leigh Owens: Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values.

via Leigh Owens: Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values.


3 thoughts on “Leigh Owens: Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values (participation)

  1. African american media personality like Jay-Z gets famous a lot of people then attribute his success with the occult or selling his soul to the devil. They then attribute him flashing the Roc-A-Fella symbol as that of the Illuminati when in fact it’s just mostly white people getting anxious or maybe jealous seeing that an African American man can be successful.

    Due to their gospel influence as kids growing most rappers are actually religious. Most of them see their success as God-given and most think that all the bling, money and success they have received is because it was meant to be by God.

    Also since most rappers grew up in areas with heavy gang activity, a lot of them put a lot of faith to God and in their fate to survive while in the streets hustling it’s just that their culture doesn’t openly speak their devotion to religion unless they are in church that is why you don’t see a lot of rap songs about religion or God.

  2. A lot of emotions arise with the comments made by both Jay-z and Nicki. For me, Jay’s ignorance is a huge blow and really takes away my respect towards him as an artist. For another artist to make these statements is one thing, but for Jay, a man who built his empire on the fact he had a “hard knock life” comin from Marcy projects, it just completely eradicates everything I thought I knew about him. Jay has a lot of controversy surrounding him, a lot of people dislike him for his success, or contribute him to being a part of the illuminati and whatnot. And yes, much of this negative hype comes from the haters. But for him to act like he doesn’t even know where he came from makes me lose SO much respect for him. I cannot even imagine how a kid in the projects feels when they find out their hero doesn’t even know what the impoverished are fighting for. Isn’t that a big theme in hiphop, to be a bigger voice in order to get the issues that effect you heard? I mean, Jay could do so much for the 99%. He could be a powerful voice, seeing as how he was once in the bottom of the majority and rose to the top of the 1% minority. I understand there is a lot of showbusiness involved with these people, like Nicki–I don’t think people need to take these things so literally. A lot of what is said is to get a rise out of people and make them notice. But the comments that Jay has made just seem like they are completely ignorant, like he doesn’t even want to put forth the effort to care. I miss the Reasonable Doubt Jay, the one who knew the shit that society puts others through; he seemed to have a better grasp on what’s really going on in America.

    • I agree, if this is really what jay z meant it is definitely disrespectful. I do agree that is not very smart of him to voice those kind of opinions like that since he is such a big name out there. I also understand that he has the right to express what he thinks, but he also needs to realize the commotion this would make.

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