“The paper read murder, black on black murder.”
The sentiments of Black power and Black pride ooze through many of the tracks on Watch The Throne.
From “Made In America” which tells the narrative of African-Americans’ struggle to become equal in a nation that once enslaved them, to “Murder To Excellence,” which is a celebration of black excellence with the imagery of our darkest issues.
Many people may not have noticed, but “Murder To Excellence” is two songs in one. One about the self-destruction within the Black community and as the bridge builds and the beat changes, Jay and ‘Ye narrate their interpretation of Black excellence.
But overall, it captures the essence of the issues we seem to struggle to overcome: our disenfranchisement by white supremacy and our inability to rise above our own mental enslavement caused mainly by systematic racism.
Every Black person in America that has listened to “Murder To Excellence” can identify with its theme and message.
“Murder To Excellence” captures the essence of the plight of Black America; defining Black power, Black on Black murder, and self-hatred, in a world where Blackness is associated with destruction and a slew of negativity.
As the sentiments of Black power and Black love have died down since the Black Power Movement 30 years ago, Jay-Z remembers the Black Panther leaders who were systematically murdered by the government for their revolutionary messages.
Jay-Z raps, “I arrived on the day Fred Hampton died/ real n*ggas just multiply.” Black Panther deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter, Fred Hampton was murdered by the FBI on December 4, 1969 as he lay in his bed, and at that same time Jay-Z was born.
Being the more militant of the two, Kanye calls for Black people across the nation to redefine Black power. “It’s time for us to stop and redefine black power, 41 souls murdered in 50 hours.”
Not one to keep quiet about his issues with race, Kanye has always been vocal about his issue with racism in America.
Most notably during his outburst at a telethon for Hurricane Katrina, Kanye shocked many Americans when he declared that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
It might have not been the time or place, but every Black person in America nodded their heads in agreeance.
Although, Kanye is a certifiably a proud African-American, he raps about his own personal struggles with maintaining his identity as a Black man while indulging in the lavish things we all desire in “All Falls Down,” but his love for materialism may cause confusion and contribute to the Negro’s obsession with materialism over community.
In theory, Jay-Z and Kanye are a part of W.E.B. Dubois‘ “Talented Tenth” of upper-class Blacks whose duty it would be to “guide the mass away from the contamination and death of the worst.”
Despite the mentions of Martin Maison Margiela, Maybachs and shopping sprees in Paris, maybe in some way songs like “Murder To Excellence,” “Made I America,” and the many mentions of Black opulence and the beauty of Blackness are Jay and ‘Ye’s musical attempt to uplift the Black community.
As they sit on their respective thrones, Jay and Kanye’s attempt to empower Black people to do better by ending genocide within our own communities, as well as instilling the sense of Black pride, have now reached the ears of millions of not only Black,s but people of all races, religions, and creeds.
Whether we like it or not, race is still a huge issue in America.
When shit gets tough, people begin to draw the lines between race and then class, and despite Kanye and Jay-Z being some of the richest rappers in the game, they still know that at the end of the day when they’re riding clean in their Benz’s, they’re still a bunch of “n*ggas in a coupe.”
Sad, but until America completely changes, it’s true.
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