I watched the Korean hit movie Parasite last weekend. Was great. There’s no secret that the movie’s got something to say about class. The characters we follow in it are likeable shitty survivors. We want them to win. The people they leech off are the clueless wealthy elite. Who don’t really do anything wrong, other than be kinda hypocritical and sheltered.

This post isn’t about the movie. But (mild spoiler warning) it does point out how oblivious and uncaring our betters can be of our dire situations. They hold their noses at the whiff, not realising what people have had to go through just to survive. What can be a home-ruining storm for us is a cancelled holiday for them.

Having said that, why would they not enclose themselves off from us? Our paparazzi chase the visibly successful like vultures and we feed on their personal lives like vampires. Perhaps they had greater fortune than some on the climb up, but you better damn well be sure they were clawed at by the crabs too. And they still won.

I came across this clip of Jay-Z speaking at a University recently too:

And it got me thinking. He says the seclusion and sacrifice is worth the opportunities he is afforded. Worth the access he is granted to certain company solely due to the success he’s achieved. Access to rooms where he feels comfortable being who he is, as a man. In his own words, “as himself”. I’m happy for him, as a fan who grew up listening to him.

The kicker is, as a long-time fan, I always felt like Jay-Z always looked a little uncomfortable in the halls of rap. In his ascent, his peak; alone and amongst his friends; as rapper, el presidente and mentor. Always. Why? Do you know what this man did for us? Did for the culture? The place he holds within it?

Jay-Z wrote The Black Album and The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt. He has well over 10 #1 albums (I can’t be bothered to check how many) at this point. He was a King of NY: the man threw shots at Nas and took heat from Tupac. Friend to The Notorious B.I.G. and married to ‘the hottest chick in the game’. He birthed a dynasty and record label and grew a net worth of over $1B USD. The careers of Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I., Lupe Fiasco and untold others spin out of his own in some shape or form.

Even after accomplishing so much (which benefitted the people as much as himself)… this man still didn’t feel comfortable growing his hair out until he fully ascended us. He survived the Marcy projects, shootings, 90s rap beefs, label discord, and boardroom dramas. This motherfucker shot his own brother as a child: don’t tell me he doesn’t have ice running through his veins.

And yet. He still had to extricate himself from all the crabs… from all the parasites, before he felt comfortable enough to grow out his hair. So maybe he and his ilk might hold their noses at us from time to time. Maybe they are a little detached. I think maybe I don’t blame them so much any more.