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."
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.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.