Jay-Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail Is an Education

With the release of his latest opus, Magna Carta... Holy Grail, Jay-Z has cemented his legacy as the most powerful hip-hop artist on the planet. The fact that Samsung paid him $5 million to give away a million downloads of the most socially conscious rap album since Public Enemy released Fear of a Black Planet in 1990 is a testament to Jay-Z's influence on pop culture.

When I listened to the new album, I heard the best rapper in the game hitting back at all the haters who can't stand to see a black man amass power in this country. He details how African-Americans still haven't achieved equality even though a black man is in the Oval Office. On "F.U.T.W.," Jay-Z raps, "America tried to emasculate the greats/Murder Malcolm, gave Cassius the shakes/Wait, tell them rumble, young man, rumble/Try to dim your lights, tell you be humble."

With those lines, Jay-Z is saying mainstream America will accept an accomplished, intelligent black man as long as he keeps his mouth shut and accepts the status quo. Another empowering track is "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt." The song is about the persecution black people have endured since they were shackled and sold into slavery: "They don't understand is because we really from Africa/And that's where all this stuff come from/And we originated from kings, you know what I'm saying/So don't look down on the youngsters/Because they wanna have shiny things."

C. Stiles

And on "Somewhereinamerica," Jay-Z raps about brushing off prejudices he experiences even though he's a multimillionaire media mogul. He spits, "New money, they looking down on me/Blue bloods they trying to clown on me/You can turn up your nose, high society/Never gon' turn down the homie/Knock knock, I'm at your neighbor house/Straight cash, I bought ya neighbor out."

Through Magna Carta... Holy Grail, Jay-Z is educating the world on how white America still can't deal with a hood n---a making it to the top of the corporate food chain. Here's to HOV.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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Brilliant review. It's easy to miss at dirt glance and first listen. Especially given the marketing success. However a well trained eat and consciousness familiar with hip hop from this era will be floored by the literary breadth and depth of me Carter's lyrics. Amazing truly. Kudos to like the author for picking up on it and writing. Hats off. They will be dissecting this one for years in academic settings.


Beautiful post. Well articulated. You can easily miss and dismiss te guys work as gangster bs. But if you listen with open mind you know the flow is blessed and enlightenment. Given his circumstances an position he is spitting deep conscious rap in Trojan horse form. Brilliant. Hats off.

Exiliado topcommenter

The title of this article is kind of misleading:

".Blah..Blah..Blah...is an Education"

It is sad, very sad, that Jay-Z makes millions and millions out of the ignorance of so many young people, but he fails to communicate the message that can help them move out of poverty, the projects and a life of violence.

It is also sad, but not a surprise, that Luther Campbell rejoices and thinks his friend is the Big Deal. 

Instead of encouraging our youth to work hard and get the best education possible, Jay-Z and Mr. Campbell go on to play the race card first, and then to create false expectations.

"Straight cash, I bought ya neighbor out."

But where did the cash come from?

Will all those young men and women listening to JZ be able to wake up millionaires one day? 

Or, without a proper education, will they have to make a choice between:

a) Welfare

b) A minimum wage job

c) A life of crime

d) All of the above

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