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Internets, Some concert venue in New York has been remodeled, and the TIs brought Jay-Z in to do anot

Life in a Shanty Town

May 3 · Issue #106 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

Some concert venue in New York has been remodeled, and the TIs brought Jay-Z in to do another one of those B-Sides concerts, to mark the occasion.
During the concert, Jay took advantage of the opportunity to pay tribute to the recently deceased Nipsey Hussle, with a freestyle that was as heartfelt as it was convenient. But what the fuck was he talking about?
It should be clear from my enviable lifestyle that I don’t take advice from Jay-Z records, especially financial advice, and hence I could give a rat’s ass what he has to say, generally speaking.
But this is not about me. This is about people like the dumbass on Twitter who declared that Jay’s Nipsey Hussle freestyle was the best rap verse of all time, which generated thousands of likes and retweets, at least some of them, presumably, from people who agreed with him.
If they disagreed with him, they would have responded by calling him out of his name (but not using any of the terms we would have used back in the 1990s) via @reply, which is known on Twitter as being “ratioed.”
I happen to know, from a study that was conducted years ago, that’s remained with me ever since, because I find it amusing, that the average black woman has a $5 net worth, which, once you factor in tax, wasn’t even enough to cop a Footlong™ from Subway back when it was $5, before they jacked the price up on a brother, as if I’m made out of money.
The last thing we need is people out here losing their shirts trying to become the next Nipsey Hussle—I mean, aside from the whole getting shot by a guy named Eric Holder thing. Although, I guess if someone is going to lose their shirt, it should be a woman, and it should be captured for posterity on Lil Boosie’s Instagram Live.
My concern here is less with the efficacy of real estate investing than it is with the fact that I have no idea what Jay-Z is talking about, and I’m assuming that my reading comprehension skills are stronger than most people who are still listening to Jay-Z in 2019. (I got strong marks in reading comprehension in elementary school, and I’m glad to see it’s finally paying off.)
It doesn’t make sense to me that black people can gentrify our own neighborhoods, as Jay-Z suggests, because gentrification means white people moving into black neighborhoods and jacking up the prices (like they did at Subway) so that black people can’t afford to live there anymore.
Gentrification doesn’t work the other way around for a number of reasons, including the following:
1) Houses in gentrifying neighborhoods increase in value because people are willing to pay a premium to live around white people. No one’s gonna pay a premium to live around black people.
2) In gentrifying neighborhoods, cops stay posted up, to protect the white interlopers from the local “bad element.” Cops could give a rat’s ass about protecting black people, no matter how much money they make.
3) Dogs are the shock troops of gentrification. White people in gentrifying neighborhoods use their dogs to cultivate relationships with the few other white people in the area, so they can plot on driving out the remaining black population. Black people are less likely to own dogs, and even if they do, they probably just keep them chained to a fence in the back yard.
And yet, to hear Jay-Z tell it, Nipsey Hussle was in the process of gentrifying his own neighborhood when he died. If only Eric Holder hadn’t popped a cap in his ass.
It would have been nice to see what Hussle was able to accomplish, if only for clarification purposes, but also because I derive a certain emotional benefit from seeing black people excel in business, in much the same way that some of my very best sexual experiences have been vicarious in nature.
Take it easy on yourself,
P.S. I probably should have mentioned this last week, but if you’d like to read more about my umpteen-years-long friendship with Bun B, as alluded to last week, you can do so in my very first book, The Mindset of a Champion, available wherever finer books are sold.

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