Jay Z's 4:44

Financial Counseling on How to Be a Modern-Day Slavemaster When What We Really Need Is to Get Free

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Setting aside the artistry and heart-baring, Jay Z’s new album, 4:44, amounts to a celebration of this system as it is. This is nothing that people who want to get free should celebrate.

Jay is right—in his song “The Story of O.J.”—that this system treats every Black person—whether they be light, dark, faux, house, field, rich or poor—as a “nigga.” But the answer he gives to this is cruel and ugly. One or two billionaires “the same hue as you” is not going to do shit for the masses of Black people living from check to check, dogged by the pigs every minute of every day, can't get work and treated by every unjust authority in this system like they ain’t shit. But even worse: the wealth Jay is telling you to grab for comes through cutthroat competition and from the blood, sweat and brutal exploitation of people living in slums and shantytowns in every corner of this world... living in the same situation as people in Watts, in Englewood, in East New York or Jackson or where have you.

The other part of the cruelty here is that once again, Jay ends up blaming the youth themselves for the position they're in, saying it’s because they're not holding onto their wealth. He blames them for mimicking the shit this system tells them about personal value being bound up with personal wealth—meanwhile Jay parrots the same message. But is the fact that a handful of young rappers or hustlers waste their money the reason that the masses of Black people don't have “financial freedom”? This is straight bullshit!

This country was built on the backs of Black people, and since then, through all the struggle and change, the rulers of this system have worked overtime to keep Black people in an oppressed and exploited position—in every part of society. And they have used their KKK or pig police to terrorize them when they fought back. Right now, there is a literal genocide being waged against Black people—of mass incarceration and police terror, broken-down schools, horrible health care and all the rest, all about to be ramped up on steroids by the fascist Donald Trump. Especially now, people have to look at the real problem and stop being played by this system’s game.

Ain’t no slice of this system’s pie and ain’t no cake worth having! Let’s work to where we can tear this whole capitalist shit system down once and for all... let’s get serious about making a real revolution at the earliest possible time. Let's lift our heads, stop dogging each other, stop fighting and killing each other, stop trying to mimic the motherfuckers this system holds up as heroes, stop looking to wannabe kings and queens.

Jay rhymes about leaving a legacy of personal wealth for his family and small group of friends as if that’s something deep and full of wisdom. How is that different from Donald Fucking Trump and his family of parasites? Fuck that small-minded conservative old system shit! Instead, put everything on the line to leave a legacy of real liberation—breaking each and every chain holding down every exploited and oppressed sister and brother in the whole world. That’s what it can really mean to be free.


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