Jay Z is somewhat like E.F. Hutton: When he raps, people listen. And during his B-Sides concert held over the weekend in New York City, the rapper had the audience’s undivided attention. The Brooklyn, N.Y., rapper addressed several issues during his concert, ranging from criticism of his music-streaming service Tidal to the slayings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. He also spoke about the recent killing of up-and-coming rapper Chinx.
During a freestyle, Jay Z once again addressed critics of his music-streaming service, but also evoked the recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers.
And I don’t need no middle man to talk to my n—gas
I understand if you don’t understand, I figure I’m Jigga
That’s where we differ
I take what’s mine, you accept what they give ya, I get ya
I don’t take no checks, I take my respect
Pharrell even told me go with the safest bet
Jimmy Iovine offered a safety net
Google dangled around a crazy check
I feel like YouTube is the biggest cul-pu-rit
Them n—gas pay you a tenth of what you sposed to get
You know n—gas died for equal pay, right?
You know when I work I ain’t ya slave, right?
You know I ain’t shucking and jiving, and hi-fiving
You know this ain’t back in the days, right?
Well, I can’t tell by the way they killed Freddie Gray, right?
Shot down Mike Brown, how they did Tray, right?
Let ’em continue choking n—gas
I ain’t ya token n—ga
You know I came in this game independent, right?
Tidal, my own label, same difference
Oh, n—gas is skeptical when it’s they own s—t
You bought nine iPhones and Steve Job is rich
Phil Knight worth trillions, you still bought those kicks
Spotify’s 9 million, they ain’t say s—t
On Sunday the rapper also said a few poignant words about Chinx. The rapper, who was affiliated with rapper French Montana, died Sunday from gunshots fired at close range while he was sitting in his vehicle in Queens, N.Y., with his friend Antar Alziadi, 27, the New York Times reports.
“A young man got killed in Queens, his name was Chinx,” Jay Z said. “I can’t understand that we are seriously under attack like never before, like never before. Rest in peace to Chinx.”
Jay Z also addressed the ongoing issue of black-on-black violence in the community and begged for peace.
“And we’re still killing each other,” Jay Z continued. “We need to understand that we are kings and queens. We are kings and queens and we’re under attack. A young man trying make a way out of the hood.
“We can’t have it both ways,” Jay Z stated. “We say, ‘People, they leave the hood and never wanna come back.’ When people go to the hood, they get killed. We can’t have it both ways. We gotta protect our own.”
And protecting his own is something that Jay Z may have done recently.
In a series of tweets, dream hampton, author of Jay Z’s biography, Decoded, alluded to the fact that Jay Z and Beyoncé both donated money to bail out protesters, not only in Ferguson, Mo., but also in Baltimore.
Captured by Complex, hampton defended Jay Z and Beyoncé from the always present naysayers who assume that they do nothing when it comes to social-justice issues.
“When we needed money for bail for Baltimore protesters, I hit Jay up, as I had for Ferguson [and he] wired tens of thousands of dollars within minutes,” hampton tweeted.
Jay Z and Beyoncé, who were both in attendance at the recent #Rally4Peace concert in Baltimore, may not always publicly discuss what they do behind the scenes. Real strong types move in silence.