BIPOC Voices, Music, Opinions

Why Jay-Z’s verse on Capitalism is contradictory

How’s that exclusive VIP-only club in NYC he owns?

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Sep 4, 2022

It’s not like I go around parading that I’m psychic, but sometimes, I call out little coincidences that make me giggle. Earlier this week, I had a passing thought about how celebrities like Zendaya and Jay-Z have completely abandoned Twitter because they’re too rich and famous to care. Well, last Thursday, the latter proved me wrong.


You don’t need me to tell you that Hov is probably the greatest rapper of our time, our generation, living, etc. Whatever list you find, he’ll be on it. So when he made an appearance on DJ Khaled’s newest record, God Did, rapping about being criticized for being a capitalist, of course people tuned in. And of course, the talent was there.



But let me say this: It’s no secret that the man is a huge capitalist. By definition. Which is, “a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with the principles of capitalism.” (Thanks, Google.)


Jay-Z is no doubt, very rich. And he definitely uses that money to invest in companies, like Epic Games, Savage x Fenty, Oatly, and Sweetgreen, for profit, adhering to capitalism: An economic and political system where countries are controlled by owners for profit, rather than by state. The USA operates on capitalism, BTW — being how Hov’s moves with companies like Tidal and Square, it’s made him even more abhorrently rich.


So why am I giving you this sociology lesson? In short, American capitalism doesn’t help Black people, who are systemically poor. And Hov’s business moves are questionable, especially when it comes to his pro-“Black excellence” stance.  So now we get to here.


Rob Markman held a Twitter Space to promote God Did. Mr. Carter was in attendance to address his contribution to the title track. You can listen below, but I’ll give you the footnotes.


Hov says, and I quote, “We not falling for that tricknology the public puts out there now. Before it was the American Dream: ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You can make it in America.’ All these lies that America told us our whole life and then when we start getting it, they try to lock us out of it. They start inventing words like ‘capitalist.’ We’ve been called ‘n****rs’ and ‘monkeys’ and sh*t. I don’t care what words y’all come up with. Y’all gotta come with stronger words.”



Pause. So there is some truth here. Black people have been treated unfairly by America’s systemic political and economic structure. But, to compare the term “capitalist” to racist slurs, now that’s a choice. And, whether he knows it or not, Jay-Z is a capitalist. Factually.


Now, because our capitalist economy is designed to keep Black Americans poor for life, it makes sense for Hov to believe that accumulating extreme wealth is a way of revolutionizing Black excellence, if he does. However, by doing this, doesn’t that contribute to the very system that keeps the majority of us poor?


So, if you’ve seem some of your social media mutuals respond to Jay-Z recently, this is likely why. What do you think about Hov’s stance on capitalism? “$500K, or lunch with Jay?”


Photo via Getty Images