Jay-Z has social media talking.
In the wake of receiving mass praise for his new four-minute verse on DJ Khaled‘s “GOD DID,” the hip-hop legend made a rare appearance on Twitter Spaces for a talk with Khaled and other music industry figureheads. The verse opens with four of his artists or affiliates who have become billionaires: Himself, Ye, Rihanna and LeBron James. Jay-Z then describes how his success came from a past of dealing drugs to escape a childhood of poverty.
So as Jay-Z discussed the verse on Spaces, his point about capitalism made the rounds on social media afterward.
“When we start getting it, they tried to lock us out of it, they start inventing words like ‘capitalists,’ ” Jay-Z said.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a capitalist as “a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with the principles of capitalism.” The same dictionary defines capitalism as “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”
In plain terms, the majority of American wealth is in the hands of 1% of the country’s residents, a very exclusive group.
What prompted the “eat the rich” phrase came as a result of the wealth gap between American billionaires and the average citizen, whose income was $84,352 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We’ve been called n—– and monkeys this year,” Jay-Z continued. “Those words y’all come up with, y’all have to come with stronger words. When I say y’all, I’m not talking about y’all. The words that they come up with, they have to come up with a stronger word. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to be tricked out of our position.
“Y’all locked us out and created a system that doesn’t include us, and we said ‘Fine.’ We took an alternate route, we created music, we did our thing, we f—– killed ourselves to get to this space, and now it’s like, ‘Eat the rich.’ Man, we’re not stopping.”
One social media user, @alchem1st93, re-posted an old Tupac interview where he was discussing capitalism in response to Jay-Z’s comments.
“It’s too much money here,” Tupac said in the interview. “Nobody should be hitting the lottery for $36 million and we’ve got people starving in the streets. That is not ideal.”
Other users shared their thoughts, which included telling people they can’t become billionaires and how Malcolm X would’ve hated him.
if jay-z thinks "capitalism" & "eat the rich" are epithets to discourage black entrepreneurs & black ownership he should see how his wifes clothing line is produced
— BORG (@borgposting) September 1, 2022
The people praising Rihanna’s wealth but criticising Jay-Z are obviously largely not the same people, but regardless of that Rihanna doesn’t jump on here to cry whenever someone critiques wealth hoarding she just releases a new product and minds her business
— Jason Okundaye (@jasebyjason) September 2, 2022
jay-z had the nerve to try to pitch his old project on bitcoin, as if they got money to burn on that sh t. hell yes, he’s getting criticism. https://t.co/W0P4wTPzz2
— bomani (@bomani_jones) September 1, 2022
Less about Jay Z, but a LOT of Black folk – classed and not – have those politics where they self-victimize when their class (aspirations) and loyalties are revealed. They amplify (anti-)Blackness to shield from more exacting critiques. Happens all the time
— Terrance… (@iTerryTommy) September 1, 2022
Arguing about class wars, capitalism and what Black revolutionaries would hate Jay-Z while on the white man's clock is hilarious to me lmaoo
— 285 Slim (@SlimHeroics) September 2, 2022
Jay Z be reading our tweets mad as hell.
— Ella Septima-Hamer (@jbrous41) September 1, 2022
While Jay-Z was criticized by many, he also had a horde of supporters defending him, with some pointing out his activism efforts through organizations like REFORM Alliance and his various scholarship efforts.
This clip continues to age like fine wine. pic.twitter.com/xIjIO5M6KF
— 𝑺-𝒊𝒛𝒛𝑯, 𝑶-𝒊𝒛𝒛𝑾 (@ShawnCarterShow) September 1, 2022
Listen to Jay-Z’s full statement below.
Ok den pic.twitter.com/waMQkIldVm
— Rob Markman 💭 (@RobMarkman) September 1, 2022