Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Tony Grands
There was an article written about Jay-Z meeting with Andrew Cuomo, in regards to the overpolicing of people of color in New York, that occured this December. Apparently, the meeting was a success, whatever that means. But, instead of giving him some glorious, superhuman title like “Rap Music Mogul Gawd In The Flesh” or “King Bey‘s Husband” the FoxNews article referred to Jiggaman as a “former crack dealer.”
At first glance, I was appalled for him. How dare they — after all his achievements, accomplishments, & accolades — bluntly refer to him as a former crack dealer?
“The disrespect is real,” I thought to myself as I shook my head ever-so-gently. Then I realized he IS a former crack dealer. He’s mentioned it upwards of a thousand times — at least — over the course of his tenure. Not only did he rap intimately about hustling & its many perks in the beginnings of his commercial career, but years later he took Queen Winfrey back to his old stomping grounds. Grounds which included places he sold crack. Even after Jay Z had officially become more of an asset than a liability to corporate America, he continued rapping about selling crack, however thinly veiled it may have been. God damnit, I love rap music.
Jay Z has issued no response (that I’ve heard about) to being called a former crack dealer & I think I know why…
See, as long as “Corporate America” identifies him as some sort of miscreant or goon, his street credit card doesn’t expire. You know, because he’s no goon, in fact he is quite the opposite. He’s a business, man. & as a business man, obviously he knows that smoke & mirrors can get you far in life. As long as you can create the ambience of actuality, the maintenance is a breeze, so to speak. Even in the photo of the aforementioned article, Mr. Shawn Knowles-Carter is dipped in all black like your random neighborhood car thief. Why, though? Because illusion is the primary weapon of the elite.
Some months back, Jay Z was sorta kinda involed in a scandal involving Barney’s, a clothing company Jay does business with. With dust particles from the sensitive situation still wafting through the air, Jay Z guest starred on Young Jeezy’s “Seen It All,” which surfaced around the time Jeezy was having his own little legal woes. About 47 of ’em. His verse was about nothing more than selling dope (with a little personal family history also strewn about) & he even ended it with the line:
Niggas can’t tell me shit about this dope game, about this cocaine, mayne…
That’s definitely not the lyrical stylings of a man in denial about his Devil-may-care days nor the boasts of a dude who is ashamed of his past. To me, the verse sounds less like him proving a point & more like him humanizing his struggle while flipping the bird to his employers. Even the adlibs add merit to the verse’s “I really did this shit for real”-ness.
As for the
shady ass politically incorrect article, I’m not interested in who constructed the write up that slandered Shawn Carter, but I can say with scientific certainty that he (or she) doesn’t listen to today’s current cabal of Hip Hop entertainment. There are so many rappers making references to peddling cocaine that the scant amounts of dope boy music pre-Internet “trap rap” that Jay may have manufactured are thoroughly eclipsed. These days, all of your favorite rappers claim to sell, or have sold cocaine in different forms, using various techniques. Some even toss out inadvertent instructions on how to make it yourself. All bullshit aside, with the proper rap records & a couple of online articles — & a dash of common sense — you could conceivably make crack. Where you find the coke man & your prospective is between your & your uncles, though. Rappers have always proclaimed to be hustlers, but exactly when did it become so prestigious? These cats rap about selling drugs like it’s not illegal anymore. & they are probably the same dudes who’ll get mad at the nanny for telling their kid(s) that Santa Claus is really their stepdad, but that’s neither here nor there.
Meanwhile, Jay Z is so socially far-removed from any type of lifestyle where something like this would even be important that he probably laughed at the title, skimmed through the article, & never thought about it again. Well maybe once, when he chuckled at how cool “admitted ex-crack dealer” sounds.
For temporary posterity purposes, let’s take a listen to “Seen It All” below & enjoy the irony together before we part ways for the day.
The joke’s gonna be on all of us when Rick Ross starts indicting rappers for drug activity involvement & starts with Jay Z. I’m sure Ofc. Ross knows all about statutes of limitations & what not.
Eat your heart out, Frank Lucas.
Words by Tony Grands
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