My position on the non-political music isn't because I don't recognize the lyrical capabilities of Jay Z, Biggie, etc. I certainly am well informed about their music e.g. the political and economic developments and downfalls of Death Row Records and others. I'm more knowledgeable about that history than most of the people who spent hours and a fortune getting high to Dr. Dre, Snoop, Bad Boy, etc. And, of course, we know everything is political so there's really no such thing as non-political music, but for the sake of identification, let's just say the music focused on women's anatomy, sex, money, cars, etc., as opposed to the liberation and salvation of oppressed humanity, that first category we are calling non-political music.
The relevance is Jay Z's music will never be confused with contributing to the advancement of African people and all of society. He rapped about getting rich and he did. And most people wish, like he did, that they can become rich also. This is true because capitalism spends trillions of dollars programming all of us to believe that the most important human goal we can ever produce is that of having more money than we know what to do with. That programming steers us completely away from understanding and/or caring about who gets screwed when we make all that money. In fact, the bourgeoisie train us to believe in the individualistic vision of life, meaning when we make money its only because we deserve to make money. It was ordained by God in our favor. "Name it and claim it." When we struggle financially, this backward logic dictates to us that we are downtrodden because of something amiss within us. We haven't learned to work hard enough. We lack morality. We are cursed by God. Any number of foolish and anti-human values. This is why when people like Jay Z make millions of dollars, rapping and promoting music that degrades us as human beings, instead of seeing that as exploitation against our people, which it is, we want to see it as creative business planning and implementation. The absurdity of this logic would also have to posit that the transatlantic slave trade is also creative business and implementation and that's why some people are even ashamedly attempting to depict centuries long terror against our people that way today.
Jay Z represents the petti-bourgeoisie among our people and as Kwame Ture correctly stated numerous times, the African petty bourgeoisie is the scum of our race. He's the sad product of the shuffling of the ruling capitalist class in the late 1960s. During that time, the Black Power movement was creating a new consciousness among African people and everyone else. We no longer had to follow the crew cut patriotic European man model of human existence. We were then able to recognize that we had a completely different definition of what it meant to be a human being and most often, that different definition was 100% opposed to the interests of the capitalist system everywhere it exists on earth. The reality that over 300 U.S. cities burned between 1965 and 1970 is evidence of the extent, even on an unorganized and spontaneous level, that our people were finished with the contradictions of this system. For the ruling capitalist classes, this period reflected a genuine fear that we could figure out how to step up our opposition. We could become much better organized and prepared to wage a sustainable resistance to this system. These people on top studied closely the results of data produced by bodies like the Kerner Commission which warned that the separateness of this country by race would be its undoing. So, the super-rich convened to discuss how to address this. How to ensure their interests remained untouched. And, what they came up with was the need to create a much broader African petti-bourgeoisie class. These savages understand that every human needs something to believe in so they surmised that they had to give the masses of African people something to believe in. They concluded that if the masses of European (white) people were able to be pacified by the myth that they could integrate successfully into the capitalist system, why couldn't they pull the same trick on us? So, McGeorge Bundy (Ford Foundation President), David Rockafeller, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, and other bourgeoisie thinkers and actors devised the concept of "black capitalism." They fueled this concept by creating and advancing an affirmative action program thus creating more college graduates among the African masses, women, etc. More businesses through set aside contracts and more opportunities for some of us, a few of us, to integrate into the higher levels of the capitalist system.
Forty and fifty years later there is a firm African petti-bourgeoisie class in the U.S. A class that has completely betrayed the sacrifices of our ancestors who fought for us to have opportunities like education so we could use the information to liberate our people. Instead, this class of sellouts has created the illusion that the purpose of education is for individual enrichment and opportunity. That these individuals have no obligation to use their entitlements to help the masses of African people and/or humanity. That they earned their rights based exclusively by their own individual efforts, or at the least, the efforts of their biological families.
Its important to understand all of this because if you don't, you won't understand where someone like Jay Z comes from. You won't realize where his ideas came from. You won't understand how he could say something as stupid as the behavior of African boys is the primary reason they are gunned down so often by police. You won't realize how he could so easily and effortlessly sell out the protests of African football players against police terrorism. You won't understand how he could make a deal with the National Football League, not his brothers protesting within the league.
Without that understanding, you will see nothing wrong with anything Jay Z is doing. In fact, you will agree with him on most if not all of it. You will make the ridiculous claim so many of us are making that people are hating on him for doing something. You will see it that way because you really want to be Jay Z or at least be in his position so you can't condone any criticism of his position because you are hoping that one day, that could be you.
Believe it when we say that this analysis isn't about attempting to change anyone's mind who's in Jay Z's camp. We would never waste that time because we understand that this is about class contradictions. Its a question of class struggle. Anyone who sides with Jay Z and anyone like him is making a decision to be a class enemy of African people and all of humanity. The expansion of the African petti-bourgeoisie wasn't done to create opportunities for advancement for the masses of African people. It was to create a small class of African people who would be committed to the interests of the capitalist system so that they would see their role within it as that of holding our people from destroying this system. In other words, the roles of people like Jay Z, Beyonce, Candace Owens, Barack Obama, Bill Cosby, is to uphold the capitalist system and make African people believe that its our obligation to do so. It doesn't matter whether these people are democrats, republicans, or allegedly apolitical, all of them represent capitalism because capitalism not only supersedes the electoral political process, it manages and sustains it.
Our objective here is to declare that we are on the opposite side as Jay Z and all those others. We are in a war for the future of all of humanity and those people are on a completely different team and/or teams because all of them aren't monolithic. We are on the team that recognizes that there is no wealth making within the U.S. without pushing your foot further into the neck of Africa and the rest of the exploited world. Our team wants justice and prosperity for all of humanity and we know that can never happen with the individualistic outlook capitalism keeps forcing down our throats. It will only happen with worldwide socialism, leading to world communism and there's absolutely no way you can understand any of that by watching and reading from capitalist news sources. We see our pathway to contributing to this revolutionary process as building the international revolutionary Pan-Africanist movement e.g. one unified socialist Africa.
We are 100% opposed to the tokenism that Jay Z represents. We are equally opposed to the efforts the system makes to legitimize its oppression of our people by trotting out sellouts like him or Obama to give their efforts a black face. And, we are appalled and alarmed at how easy it continues to be to confuse our people by simply getting someone in black face to do the same things to us that this system has been subjugating us to for centuries.
There is actually one song by Jay Z that I always liked called "Thank You." Its not even anything about the song. You know how songs stick with you based on what's happening in your life at the time the song is popular. That's the deal with that song, but I still never bought it. And if Jay Z walked by my front door I wouldn't say a word to him. I would and do speak to houseless people before I'd approach anyone like Jay Z because they have value and substance to me whereas people like him are representative of the master sent to us to keep us under control. Its 2019. The system won't send someone like the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in "Django" to represent the master anymore before even the most tepid and worthless of negroes knows how to detect fools like that today. So, instead, they send out Africans who are cool. Who they know we will admire and be inspired by their speech. Their talent, their image of representing us and making it within the master's system. That's the key to understanding all of this. Some of you want to make it in the masters system. Some of us want to burn down the plantation, master and all, and build something better for humanity. When we are debating about people like Jay Z, that's really the basis of what that conversation is really all about.