Jay-Z held his B-Sides 2 concert to mark the grand re-opening of the Webster Hall venue in New York City on Friday night (April 26). Among many high moments, including bringing out Cam’Ron and Nas, Jigga kicked a freestyle that criticized gentrification and bigged up the late, great Nipsey Hussle.
“Gentrify your own hood before these people do it/Claim eminent domain and have your people move in/That’s a small glimpse into what Nipsey was doing/For anybody still confused as to what he was doing,” spit Hova. “The neighborhood designed to keep us trapped…”
That’s only the start of the verse, which is a nuanced take on the subject (Genius has the full wop). However, social media is all about the sound bite.
It didn’t take long for critics to come out the woodwork and take Jay-Z to task for his involvement in bringing the Barclay’s Center to downtown Brooklyn, though.
It’s a sticky subject since while the move created jobs, citizens were also displaced due to the construction of the venue.
Peep the freestyle below and some of the reactions as well.
Jay-Z Spit Gentrification Freestyle In Honor of Nipsey Hussle And The Thinkpieces Came Out was originally published on hiphopwired.com
Jay-Z always utilized those “Rags to riches, yes we can” narratives to diminish the violence of gentrification and promote a charismatic, seductive and melanated version of capitalism; Social pacifiers and placebos courtesy of the lumpenbourgeoisie.— Bocafloja (@Bocaquilombo) April 27, 2019
Watching online woketivists lose it over Jay-Z's use of the word gentrification is yet another example of what I mean when I say these people are all buzzwords and theory with no real world experience.— Torraine Walker (@TorraineWalker) April 27, 2019
Seeing the ignorant backlash Jay-Z is receiving about using the word “gentrification” is saddening!— TizzTheInfluence (@DanteMoreno_) April 27, 2019
Rather than really reflect on the message within the verse, people are focused on the word he used to help describe it.. a word that fits perfectly when you think about it.
Problem is y’all think Jay-Z is the new Martin Luther King. He’s a rapper bro. I do believe he knows exactly what gentrification means and used as he wished in that specific flow. But a freestyle isn’t the “I Have Dream Speech” stop it with the fake critiques of capitalism.— Tef Poe the 🐐 (@TefPoe) April 27, 2019
Jay-Z put out a freestyle on gentrification and y'all think he's Hood Ghandi? I'm good... pic.twitter.com/6y0kmwxx2B— 👑 Stephanie Victoria 👑 (@CrownVictoria22) April 27, 2019
And Jay-Z knows exactly what gentrification is. He knows the winners and losers. He knows it’s problematic. He “brought you” Barclays. He reads, hell he mentioned red lined maps bars later. He knows..— L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy (@DumiLM) April 28, 2019
Opening night with HOV 🥂— Webster Hall (@WebsterHall) April 27, 2019
📷: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation pic.twitter.com/UAOFzeqOiH