Jay-Z Says Lack Of A Middle Class Is America's "Real Problem"

posted Saturday August 03 ,2013 at 10:45AM CDT | 87 comments

Jay-Z Says Lack Of A Middle Class Is America's

Jay-Z argues that better jobs are better than added police during his appearance on "Real Time With Bill Maher."

Noted Brooklyn emcee Jay-Z recently joined a handful of experts for a round-table discussion while on “Real Time With Bill Maher” to address “concern-trolling” by politicians, public housing, and New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices.

When asked to share his thoughts on the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, Jay-Z commented on the lack of a middle-class and how much of a “real problem” that is in the United States. He also touched on the widening economic gap and the oppression that will eventually reach a tipping point.

“I don’t really wanna scare America, but the real problem is there’s no middle-class,” said the Magna Carta Holy Grail rapper. “So, the gap between the have and the have-not’s is getting wider and wider. Let me finish this point because I do want to scare them a little bit. It’s gonna be a problem that no amount of police can solve because once you have that sort of oppression and that gap is widening, it’s inevitable that something’s gonna happen, period.”

Joining Jay-Z during the round-table discussion was former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank who argued for added police presence, especially for those in public housing. As a former resident of Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy Projects, Jay-Z countered Frank’s remarks by stating that instead of more cops, people need to be moved out of public housing all together.

“They deserve to get out of there. Public housing was a temporary stop…I grew up in Marcy Projects, public housing was a temporary stop until you got yourself together and you moved on,” Jay-Z explained.

Jay-Z isn’t the first artist to go on to express their opposition to New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices. Last year, Talib Kweli appeared at a police reform rally in Brooklyn and delivered a speech to attendee’s about the suspicious nature of stop-and-frisk.

RELATED: Talib Kweli Criticizes New York City's Stop-And-Frisk Practices

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Comments 87 Posts

  • Anonymous
    Hate to pop people's bubbles but Jay-Z is right. For decades now the middle class has seen it's real earning power eroded. The decline was masked by the ability to take on more and more debt and to buy cheap goods made in China. Now, America is awash is low-quality jobs. I'll tell you a story that broke my heart. I'm 50yrs+ and retired and living abroad. I recently visited New York City on holiday. Most of the reception desk staff and ALL the doormen and car drivers in the apartment building where i stayed were of color. When i went to Macy's to shop, all the salespeople were of color. The 60yr old guy (of color) in the shoe department who helped me asked if i would be sure to come back to him if i wanted anything else because he works on commission---- a 60yr old guy who should be getting ready for retirement needs my commission? I thought-- something is wrong with this picture. Whatever happened to 60yr old guys who had worked their way up in companies, even if only to be supervisors on an assembly line? Whatever happened to all the high-quality, clean jobs promised by the Dems and Repubs in the 80s and 90s when unions were busted up and manufacturing jobs moved overseas????? I guess that didn't pan out but nobody wants to talk about it (except Obama). I got a great education, worked hard and benefited tremendously from the 80/90s investment boom. Granted, i made sound financial decisions and took on little to no debt--- but, it seems many did the opposite. They splurged on non-essential shopping sprees using credit cards. They bought houses they could not afford. Now, they are middle-aged and saddled with debt and little to no net worth. Many have no healthcare and must work well into their 70s to make ends meet. Something has gone wrong with America if people think this is okay. People in other western countries may not have the flashy cars and big houses that Americans think are "normal" but those people also don't have so much debt and their net worth is higher. In other words, they are still middle class and can probably retire and leave their kids something.
  • Anonymous
    It's people like you the FOX sheep who always blame the poor The poor do not make economic decisions within the corridors of power. They also do not have special interest groups whispering in the ears of the powerful. The poor did not decide that the financial institutions need a bailout due to incompetence of the people in charge... ^ preach the same lemmings seem to forget that medicare, farming subsidiaries, tax breaks AND filing credits, food stamps are gov't handouts and they get those. these white kids think they're all part of the 1% and are entitled because they're white, but in the real world we see their folk using ebt cards for junk food, with signs on the highway ramps, with severe drug addictions, knee deep in credit debt trying to play rich for their neighbors. that's when you can tell they're still reading those 1960's klan pamphlets.
    • Mike
      Well said it's not about black or white anymore being white does not protect us from the financial shit-storm we are all in .
  • The Ice Cold Phenom
    Jay-Z's point about there being "no middle class" is way incorrect. The gap between the rich and poor is widening but not to the degree that the middle class is abolished.
    • real
      Jayz is correct their is no middle class. Stats are proving that right now. More than half the country is considered poor or live check to check. Check the facts before you comment
  • Real Talk 1000
    Youtube this, not on some spam bs, this is related to JayZ's comments. "The Fed Did It. Ron Paul and Peter Schiff were Right" "Peter Schiff Was Right" & also "Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One" by Peter Schiff. I guarantee this will enlighten you and lead you to adequate explanations in political and economic terms as to the destruction of America's middle class over the past 30-40 years. And if you happen to be further intrigued, Youtube this: "Why You Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920" by Dr. Tom Woods
    FREE MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD! Look out for ALEONB! http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/aleonb-alienation-mixtape.91966.html
  • Anonymous
    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzBh55tD_eg
  • imho
    hes right- but didnt he not pay his 40/40 employees..aka 'us'?
  • shai
    He's the reason for half the people in the lower class (Dame Dash, State Prop, Diplomats and Tierra Mari)
  • IROC
    Jay Z touched on a subject that has been happening over the last 5yrs as a result of fmr President bush and the republican party started ,and with the Tea party running congress we still are suffering under this crap they want to cut out the middle class period only Rich & Poor will be left , Only GOD can save America and thats fact !
  • M
    I'm pretty surprised Jay has the Republican opinion of only letting people stay on public housing for a period of time to get their lives together. More power to him for that. With that said, I am middle class, and so is every single person I am friends with.
    • Anonymous
      Fucking laughable!!
    • Anonymous
      We are all very happy for you M . And it's very interesting to know that all your friends are middle class thanks for sharing that WORTHLESS piece of information
  • Erica D. Roark
    as Michelle replied I'm dazzled that a stay at home mom can earn $9940 in one month on the computer. have you seen this web page... www.Can99.com Something tells me that this is going to end up being released on the same day as Detox.
  • Truth
    What does Gay-z know about Politics and Economy? This FOOL didn't know what OCCUPY WALL STREET was about! This gay muthafucka is pure trash
    • Anonymous
      Tell em why you mad.
    • danny
      OWS was a fucking pathetic attempt for all the dumbass libs to get their gripes out
    • Anonymous
    • Anonymous
      Jealousy runs deep.
  • Nasstill@it
    Jay Z's Laugh though. Lmao! But I feel him.
  • Anonymous
    Jay Z haters are worthless tools. FOH.
    • Anonymous
      it goes the same with jay-z stans even when he blows his nose yall dickriders have nothing to say but "he's the greatest" fuckin zombies
    • Anonymous
      yeah only ignorant low life mothafuckas worship celebrities and unfortunately the hip-hop audience is full of ignorant pricks
    • DUH DUH
      ^ So says the man/mouse taking time out of his day to anonymously comment on a hip hop site .. O the fucking IRONY
    • SMH
      ^^LMAO^^ So true
  • Anonymous
  • Kizman
    The only reason why people don't consider Jay to be the greatest is because he aint dead yet. We jump on everyone's dick when they die. If pac and biggie were alive today, they likely would be retired and have a reality show done on VH1. Longevity is the test of greatness. This dude is forty years old, and is still releasing #1 albums, and even his first #1 hit. He a one of the most powerful hip hop moguls, and one of the wealthiest. Most young MC's credit Jay for their influence than any others
    • Anonymous
      thats because clearly Jay hasn't got a "Ready To Die" or "Eyes On Me" And lets be real..How many of Jays mainstream fans know what hip hop is/or care about the music they are actually purchasing, As long as their up on the latest shit, doing what everybody else is doing the sheep are easily fed and satisfied to watch a artist with some successs
    • Anonymous
      He's got Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album.
    • Big Bad Barrio 18, E'z up!
      I never could stand Jay-Z. I remember when his debut album dropped and peeps weren't feeling it but now it's considered a classic. Fuck that shit. Jay-Z is literally able to sell so many albums now because of his name. The dude could fart on wax, call it the "Fart Song" and his fans would be buying it up and talking about how "dope" it is. So many brainwashed CLOWNS on this planet. Jay is not as good as you think.
    • ^ Lemmings^
      It's so fashionable to hate Jay Z these days it's actually becoming boring . If 2 Pac was alive now all you white trolls would be saying he needs to get off the black power bullshit his rich an actor he has Hollywood friends . You would all conveniently forget the struggle that came before the success !!! People like Big Bad Barrio clearly a WHITE GUY are acting like the sheep they claim to dislike so much
    • Anonymous
      Word up.
  • David Bunz
    I don't think someone has the credibility to remark on the middle class when they're bff's with egomaniacs such as Kanye West, boast relentlessly, and refer to themselves as a "god" in their songs (persona or not) and then turn around and want to act like they have some wisdom to spread. This dude has been a millionaire since his 20s. I do like his point about getting your shit together. But it's hard to get your shit together on minimum wage or at a job that makes you happy. And when the government allows corporations to employ millions of illegal immigrants that pull down our educational and financial infrastructures. The system is far to big to ever be fixed, so all we'll ever do is talk about it... and fight on the internet about it.