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Jay-Z 4:44 Album - The Story of OJ and the Anti-Defamation League

Jay-Z's new album - 4:44 - is getting rave reviews from the record industry and from the media. But the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) whose mission statement is "We protect the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all" is coming down on him for being anti-Semitic. Should more Blacks be just as protective of their people and image? Should Blacks be up in arms too since he uses the n-word 63 times in just one song from this “praised” 10-track album? Would albums that used any OTHER derogatory racial slur 63 times be critically acclaimed too? You don't think so? So why is this album (and others like it) with its excessive use of a derogatory racial slur acclaimed so often?

Before praising and jamming blindly – while our children listen and watch with us – below are the lyrics to "The Story of O.J." Are they as powerful as the reviewers would have us believe? Is using the n-word 63 times really necessary to make whatever point he's trying to make about OJ or business or money? Would Nina Simone enjoy being linked to it since she is sampled in the introduction? Jay-Z says "still n*igga" throughout - what does that mean? Didn't he tell Oprah the meaning has "changed"? With those two words used as they are in the song, is he confirming what common sense makes clear - that you cannot, in fact, change this derogatory racial slur? Has being in an oppressive state for centuries damaged a group of people where they continue to accept new lows of the bottomless pit?

Is it ironic he calls himself Jaybo (a play on Sambo) in the video and uses caricatures of Blacks that were used as an imagery tool for the dehumanization of Black people in America for centuries, yet he blows up the n-word in all of his albums? Is that what's considered a duality of confusion?

Should we be careful about what others promote as profound, deep, dropping knowledge, or as having "powerful" hidden messages? Would others stand for this verbal abuse being called “genius” or “lyrical greatness”? What's in us to accept it then? Has being in an oppressive state for centuries damaged Black people so much where accepting new lows of the bottomless pit have become commonplace?

Also below is an article to the ADL's stance on the lyrics about Jews in the song. Are they correct to fight to protect their image? Should they also show more concern about the n-word? Should Blacks? Should you? Should we? Should our children? Use your critical thinking skills, analyze. You decide and feel free to share your thoughts with E2E here, with your children/family/friends, and on your social media pages.

 
THE STORY OF O.J. by Jay-Z

(Skin is, skin, is
Skin black, my skin is black
My, black, my skin is yellow)

Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga
I like that second one
Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga

O.J. like, "I'm not black, I'm O.J." ...okay
House n*igga, don't f*uck with me
I'm a field n*igga with shined cutlery
Gold-plated quarters where the butlers be
I'mma play the corners where the hustlers be
I told him, "Please don't die over the neighborhood
That your mama rentin'
Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood
That's how you rinse it"
I bought every V12 engine
Wish I could take it back to the beginnin'
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like 2 million
That same building today is worth 25 million
Guess how I'm feelin'? Dumbo

Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga
Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga

You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it
Financial freedom my only hope
F*uck livin' rich and dyin' broke
I bought some artwork for 1 million
2 years later, that s*hit worth 2 million
Few years later, that s*hit worth 8 million
I can't wait to give this s*hit to my children
Y'all think it's bougie, I'm like, it's fine
But I'm tryin' to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99
I turned that 2 to a 4, 4 to an 8
I turned my life into a nice first week release date
Y'all out here still takin' advances, huh?
Me and my n*iggas takin' real chances, uh
Y'all on the 'Gram holdin' money to your ear
There's a disconnect, we don't call that money over here, yeah

Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga
Light n*igga, dark n*igga, faux n*igga, real n*igga
Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga
Still n*igga, still n*igga

The ADL Criticizes Jay-Z "The Story of O.J." Lyrics for Anti-Semitism

Jay-Z’s new album, 4:44, is a critical and commercial success, but not all the attention it’s attracting is positive. The Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement about the song “The Story of O.J.” from 4:44 that contains lyrics the ADL views as anti-Semitic. The verse in question is included below, highlighted in bold, set within the context of surrounding lyrics.

“Rich n*igga, poor n*igga, house n*igga, field n*igga / Still n*igga, still n*igga / You wanna know what’s more important than throwin away money at a strip club? Credit / You ever wonder why the Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it / Financial freedom my only hope / F*uck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.”

“We do not believe it was Jay-Z’s intent to promote anti-Semitism,” an ADL representative told Rolling Stone, acknowledging that the rapper has used his platform to combat racism throughout his career. But the lyric based on the damaging stereotype that Jewish people have a disproportionate hold on core industries in America is not sitting well with the ADL, since such stereotypes have long been used as excuses to incite violence against Jewish communities. “The lyric does seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money. The idea that Jews ‘own all the property’ in this country and have used credit to financially get ahead are odious and false. Yet, such notions have lingered in society for decades, and we are concerned that this lyric could feed into preconceived notions about Jews and alleged Jewish ‘control’ of the banks and finance.”

For a visual context, the video for “Story of O.J.” is a black-and-white cartoon with black characters depicted as they would have been in old minstrel animations, with the Jay-Z avatar being introduced as “Jaybo.” In it there are depictions of burning crosses, black characters picking cotton in fields, and eating watermelon — acknowledging stereotypes about black people and black culture that have persisted for generations. In a recent interview, Jay-Z said the song is “really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”

Source: Vulture Magazine

See the ironic YouTube video below, which blows up the n-word while playing on caricatures that dehumanized Blacks for centuries. Is Jay-Z misguided? Is he just a straight up hustler? Is he bragging/boasting? Is he complaining? Is he doing it all at the same time?
THE STORY OF O.J.
 

Educate2Empower Inc.
HackensackNJ 07601

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