M-1 of Dead Prez on JAY-Z’s ‘4:44’: “Financial Freedom Is Not Liberation”


For the past three weeks, the hip-hop community has showered JAY-Z with praise for the messages growth and Black empowerment that dominate his latest album, 4:44. Of the many teachable moments found across the album’s 10 tracks, the lessons given on financial freedom on “The Story O.J.” have become a focal point Hov’s latest opus, serving as a reminder that freedom doesn't exist until you've been liberated from a system that forces you to make concessions for the sake monetary survival.

Of course, that message isn’t wrong by any means, but in a recent interview with Ebro in the Morning, M-1 Dead Prez made sure to acknowledge that financial freedom is only the tip the iceberg when it comes to true freedom.

His comments begin around the six-minute mark.

M-1 went on to explain that he’s proud JAY-Z for continuing to preach Black empowerment after having come so far and that he respects the core message, but emphasizes that the problem inequality exists far beyond America and can’t be won simply with financial independence.

He also acknowledges that capitalism in America is a construct born from the enslavement African people and the trade systems that evolved from those transactions, and says that true freedom is about access to the world’s resources which are currently hoarded by an elite few.

While M-1 acknowledges that financial independence is certainly important and a vital aspect revolution in the context American capitalism, he speaks a much larger fight against the oppressive governance people across the world by use ideologies that don’t reflect the will the people.

I don’t think anyone would debate the fact that having large sums money drastically improves your standing in American society regardless color in certain aspects. Just as “The Story O.J.” addresses, though, the issue inequality cannot simply be wiped away with money.

Furthermore, M-1’s comments remind us that race is not the only issue here, citing his travels abroad as pro that oppression is occurring across the globe to people all creeds and colors.