The Story of O.J. - Jay-Z
“I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can't wait to give this shit 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 nine ninety-nine”
WHERE’S THE MEANING
The black and white animation in Jay-Z’s "The Story of O.J." establishes a clear metaphorical statement that American society continues to be greatly influenced by slavery and racism. The depiction of the characters parallel that of picaninny cartoons with motifs of cotton, burlesque shows, the KKK, and slavery abstractly merging with Jay-Z’s accomplishments in the form of cars, boats, and artwork.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the song is the incorporation of financial advice. Jay-Z speaks to the power of credit, responsible investments and financial freedom. Throughout, there are many straightforward verses where Jay-Z speaks directly to his audience giving clear advice toward financial freedom. One example is the lyric:
“Please don't die over the neighborhood
That your momma rentin’
Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood
That's how you rinse it”
In this way, "The Story of O.J." speaks directly to black Americans trapped in a cycle of perpetual poverty, "The odds are staked against you; you have been born into a system that has neglected to give you the knowledge you need to break the cycle. Here is how you escape…"
Who is responsible for providing the poor with the education necessary to become financially wise?
How do you reach this group when higher education institutions are out of reach and the accessible education fails to educate?
The legacy of slavery and racism has been and still is embedded institutionally in our society, while progress has been made, large barriers still exist for many, given that these still exist is it possible, how alive is the American dream, if we all start from different positions in the game of life?
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