JAY-Z is a capitalist …and so am I.

But that’s not a bad thing, no matter how dirty the word has become.

Jael R. Bakari
9 min readSep 5, 2022
“and I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them/ so I got rich and gave back/ to me that’s the win-win.”

I’m currently on hiatus.


Because a nigga finally accepted no one was coming to save her, so I needed to get my shit together so I can level up.

Part of that process for me includes drawing inspiration and learning from folks who seem to have an area of life mastered that I personally struggle with.

So this morning as I was combing the Interwebz for snaps of my personal faves and goal mentors, I was a bit surprised to find my big-brother-in-my-head, JAY-Z, is in the hot seat once more for some severely mistranslated comments about whether or not he is a capitalist.

“All these lies that America told us our whole life and then when we start getting it, they try to lock us out of it,” he said. “They start inventing words like ‘capitalist.’ We’ve been called ‘n — ers’ and ‘monkeys’ and s–t. I don’t care what words y’all come up with. Y’all gotta come with stronger words.” — Jay- Z’s comments from the twitter space

The Scenario

Of course, Jay-Z is a capitalist.

Apparently JAY-Z was on a Twitter space and somehow the conversation turned to capitalism and the eat the rich debate, and all hell broke loose. Now the headlines are claiming that he likened being called a capitalist to being called the n-word. And I’m left cringing and shaking my head at the level of misunderstanding that click bait style articles designed to get dibs on a trending topic in the algorithm tend to create.

I have many thoughts on this but let me get this out the way first.

Of course, Jay-Z is a capitalist.

Jay you worth over a billion, and you got it by investing and running companies — cause that’s the only way to become a billionaire — which is the very definition of the word capitalist.

it like right there dude. like this word’s older than you me and ya moms put together.

So yes, you’re a fucking capitalist.

So am I.

No, it’s not a made-up word designed to trick you out of your wealth.

And no, being a capitalist isn’t a bad thing.

It’s all about how you choose to use it like any other tool.

You couldn’t help the poor as one of them, you got rich and gave back and that is the win-win inside this clusterfuck. You also influenced several people in your circle to put themselves in better positions to be able to do the same, making them capitalists as well. Plus you got a whole generation of entertainers to do better and not get fucked by the very negative capitalist behavior that’s been running the music industry into the ground — and artists right along with it — since it’s inception.

But that don’t change the fact that you and yours are still capitalists, no matter how low your chariot swings to help those who need it most.

Own that shit the way you did every other grey area of your life, and keep moving forward G.

How capitalism became a dirty word.

Now that I’ve admitted JAY-Z is a capitalist, we can get to the meat of the discussion which is how and why capitalism and the moniker capitalist became a dirty word in a country that was once so enamored with the system they declared a witch hunt for communists and socialists and their supposed sympathizers.

Well, any person born in the U.S after 1968 can emphatically say that “their generation” got the short end of the stick.

The answer is simple: We finally reached the point on the capitalism curve where collectively we realize we’re all fucked. This phase is affectionately known as late stage capitalism.

How’d we get here?

Well, any person born in the U.S after 1968 can emphatically say that “their generation” got the short end of the stick.

Whether you’re Gen-X and had to suffer for years under the reign of Boomers who simply would not let you in politically, economically, career or otherwise.

Or a millennial like myself currently too busy struggling under a mountain of debt to really have the buying and investing power necessary to be a complete economic force but still getting blamed for the downturns in the economy all the same.

Or Gen-Z who have emphatically been in the everything is awful phase since birth, seeing as they were the post 9/11 generation and shit’s been getting exponentially worse it seems every election cycle since then.

Doesn’t matter when you were born. All that matters is that if you were born sometime after America decided that their utopia of progress post World War II meant creating and reinforcing whatever systems were necessary to ensure that only a certain group of people — namely heterosexual, cisgendered, WASP-Y* men — could enjoy the spoils of said system, you’ve pretty much been fucked you’re whole life by American capitalism.

Note: Though if we being real, this whole country was founded off that premise so kudos to America for staying on brand.

Tale As Old As Time

And the problem with the kind of vision, or sociopolitical agenda if you will, that says “only these people can succeed” is that that credo gets much harder to maintain in a globalized world. It gets even harder to maintain as white men run out of places to conquer — a key tenet to American Capitalism — hence the sudden obsession with space.

When you continuously convert currently available resources and labor into profit, you run the risk of eventually not having enough resources to spread around for future generations.

And that’s what the post-baby boom generations have all been realizing to differing degrees of “what-the-fuck-why-is-it-so-expensive-to-live” -ness.

But that’s just the nature of capitalism. When you continuously convert currently available resources and labor into profit, you run the risk of eventually not having enough resources to spread around for future generations. In other words there is only so long you can rob from your future and those of your descendants to pay for your present before a bill comes due. And unfortunately for us post-Boomers, we got left with the bill and our checks right now are too short to pay it.

But judging from a quick glance at history, at 246 years old, America and its frustrated inhabitants are right on track for a country’s life cycle.

Every major empire goes through this. An emphatic founding, a civil war or two, wars for dominance, wars for resources (or weapons of mass destruction), a golden age of prosperity experienced by a select few, despotic leaders doing the most, incompetent leaders doing the least, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer et cetera et cetera et cetera.

That doesn’t make it right, all I’m saying is I know some kid in Rome or Egypt worried how they were going to survive as prices for food and basic living necessities climbed the same way I do now. Just the way I know some kid in the Bezos Space Colonies, or the Muskboi Settlements, will one day know how I feel.

The Wachowski’s colored our situation right with The Matrix.

The Way Things Are.

The point being at some point we all fall under the wheel of unchecked progress and advancement. It is the way of things.

Companies have been abiding by the drainage principle since the inception of corporations.

And that is precisely how capitalism became a dirty word in America today. Centuries of unchecked booms and busts, ruthless business practices that rely on quashing worker autonomy, keeping wages optimally low (if not non existent) and squeezing what is left to be squzzed (it’s a word today) from markets and consumers till theres nothing left.

I believe Daniel Day Lewis character had the best description of late stage capitalism as pictured below:

we ain’t got no milkshakes to bring the boys to the yard cause they drank ’em all.

Companies have been abiding by the drainage principle since the inception of corporations. Ain’t shit new under the sun.

Making the best of a shitty hand.

But herein lies the rub, the very lives we lead, the convenience they afford, the security provided for us, the clockwork ticking of reliable events like holidays and get togethers etc. all of those things are also the byproducts of this system.

And as fucked up as this system is, it’s gonna take JAY-Z level wealth to become self sufficient enough to not rely on the shit anymore

So while it’s cool to ask for the rich to be eaten — it wouldn’t be a rebellion without it (see: the french, american, bolshevik and other major revolutions), you gotta ask yourself how much of the cozy life provided to you (even if it feels and quite very well is a shitty existence) you’re willing to sacrifice in order to get the wheel of progress up off your back. That question is a whole lot harder to answer than throwing up a trending hashtag or coming for the occasional misspoken celebrity.

Am I gonna fault Jay-Z for taking the shit hand he was dealt (born in 1969 Brooklyn, on the same day Fred Hampton was shot, came of age during the crack epidemic and didnt even graduate high-school and was probably staring down the business end of life in prison) and turning it into gold like the god damn alchemist he is? Absolutely not. And that’s the point he tried but couldn’t quite convey to his audience effectively.

This capitalist system was not designed for people like him to win and he did it anyway. And as fucked up as this system is, it’s gonna take JAY-Z level wealth to become self sufficient enough to not rely on the shit anymore. And even then you still have to wonder if you’ll revert back to capitalistic ways because historically it’s the best way to survive economically.


My hope is one day we’ll get to the point as a species where we will embrace the full gamut of the cycle of capitalism. Where those brave enough to seek fortune can go out and accumulate it, and then use the fortune they found to help those who need it and redistribute that wealth accordingly, rinse and repeat.

Forgive me if I sound high minded. I just watched the Wes Craven cult classic The People Under The Stairs, and the idea of a brave soul finding treasure, taking care of his family and then redistributing the cache he found to the hood just feels like the kinda energy us post-boomers desperately need.

seriously underrated horror classic my gen-x friend recommended to me. that’s how generations work together.

With JAY-Z and others like him more interested in paving the way so that other brave souls can win this rigged game, I have more hope than ever that maybe, just maybe one day my dream might come true.

Note: I do understand that human desire doesn’t exactly make the distribution phase of wealth the easiest thing to do, so i don’t really expect too many accumulators to abide by it. Shit getting it was tough but so is keeping it amirite?

And I hope once I’ve completed my difficult task of getting my act together and braving Fortune’s waters, I come back from my journey to my folks and go further than Jay and them in my efforts to redistribute the wealth in the best way possible like my boy Fool did in The People Under the Stairs. Cause I damn sure can’t help the poor if I’m one of them. But if I don’t, and I stick to the ways of the American capitalists before me, then I’m no better than douchebag Musk or Bezos, and will have earned my place on the dinner table as the irresponsible muhfucka I would be in that case.

cause then I’d be this dude and then being a capitalist would be a bad thing.

Till my next outing from my cave loves, toodles!

*W.A.S.P. / (wɒsp) / n acronym for (in the US) White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: a person descended from N European, usually Protestant stock, forming a group often considered the most dominant, privileged, and influential in American society.

The People Under the Stairs (1991) Director: Wes Craven
Moment of Clarity (2003) Artist: Jay-Z
Smile (2016) Artist: Jay-Z

Milkshake (2003) Artist: Kelis



Jael R. Bakari

hero maker by day, psychic clown witch by night. writer of literary crack. future poor white billionaire. your favorite —ist https://linktr.ee/jaelrbakari