Jay Z onstage March 30, 2015, in New York City for the launch of Tidal, a new music-streaming service. 
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Roc Nation

One of my favorite Jay Z verses is from his song “U Don’t Know,” off his Blueprint album:

I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell
I am a hustler baby, I'll sell water to a well

Over the last several years, Jay Z has proved that he’s definitely a hustler. From someone who started out slinging drugs to building a rap empire, you can’t deny his business acumen. But recently Jay Z has seemed to be a bit out of touch with reality.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Jay Z spoke about his new music-streaming service, Tidal, which has had its fair share of praises and side eyes. In his interview, he discussed the challenges of Tidal and its goals.

“The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value,” said Jay Z. “Water is free. Music is $6, but no one wants to pay for music. You should drink free water from the tap—it’s a beautiful thing. And if you want to hear the most beautiful song, then support the artist.”


Breaking news: “Water Is Free, According to Jay Z.”

First, recall the verse I posted above. “I can sell water to a well,” Jay Z rapped. But now water is free? Color me dehydrated and confused.

Unfortunately, in this world, water is not free. Maybe to someone who probably hasn’t seen his own bills in decades and doesn’t realize that he even has a water bill, water is free. But for millions of people who aren’t rich music moguls, water isn’t free, and it can even get shut off if you don’t pay your water bill or if the infrastructure that exists in your city is piss poor. 



Maybe residents of Detroit can explain this to Jay Z.

Today there are thousands of people in Detroit without water, and it’s not because of a drought. It’s because water isn’t free. Sure, people should not be denied their right to a natural resource, but unfortunately, unless you’re living in Jay Z’s world, it just doesn’t work out like that.


Right now, at this very moment, organizations like the Detroit Water Brigade and Detroit Water Project are hard at work trying to help residents with bill assistance and making sure Detroiters have access to water—proving once again that water is not free. And the people of Detroit aren’t the only ones paying for water.


Quarterly, I receive a water bill. A water bill for water that still needs to be filtered with my Brita water filter. A water bill that makes me think about every time I opt out of washing dishes by hand and using my dishwasher. Every time I receive the bill, I always think to myself, “It sure would be nice to have some free water.” Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way.



So as Jay Z and his band of merry musicians come together to hock yet another music-streaming service that benefits already established artists, who probably have no problem paying their water bill, wouldn’t it be nice if they footed the bill for Detroit? I mean, if Jay Z says water is free, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Instead of #TidalForAll, #FreeWaterForAll sounds like a better idea.