Analysis of Song: The Story of O.J. by Jay-Z

Categories: Music IndustrySong

From the title of the song the story of OJ it seems as if Jay-Z based his song off of “The Story of OJ Simpson”. The video is using an old-timey black and white Walt Disney type cartoons that helps tells a story in his music video. Jay-Z seems to also be pointing out others who try to escape from the true reality that they are not black or that they are on another level of black. In modern day culture, there seems to be an unconscious divide between our community the black community.

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One example of this would be the controversy between light skins and dark skins seeing if they are closer to Caucasians or the black community. Jay-Z is a millionaire and has several businesses so he has been seen as a prominent leader for years.

In his song, he also speaks about being economically enslaved in this country and criticizes the money usage especially within the black community. He spends a lot of time in the song telling people it's better to secure a lifetime of wealth than it is to get rich quick. In the lines “you wanna know what's more important than throwing away money at a strip club credit in another verse he says I bought some artwork for one million. Two years later that shit worth two million. a few years later that shit worth eight million.” I can't wait to give this shit to my children jay z is trying to make people understand that money is worth nothing if you can't make it last and if you don't use it to benefit others or your family.

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Making it last means you're able to pass it down to others like your children securing financial stability for them and teaching them how to make and keep their wealth through the process and then help them keep the process going. The music video illustrates using Walt Disney based cartoons on how they supposedly depicted black people. By the usage of these cartoons, jay z seems to suggest that through the history of cartoons that we watched or used to watch especially from companies like Walt Disney they mocked black people as a whole this visually allows the black audience, in particular, to reflect on the reality of their history.

When people like Walt Disney sought to make fun black people, the black community was quick to discriminate but not to put each other down. Also, with the visuals, the beginning lyrics can appeal to readers logic as they are made to understand that no matter what you do there is no escaping the fact that you are black or what jay z might say a nigga. He also overturns his audience’s idea on the different types of niggas and makes his audience understand that you feel like a joke for even suggesting that there was a way to detach oneself from the fact that they are black. in one of the scenes loads of cotton are being moved through a cotton gin just for the machine to output Ku Klux Klan members. But one of the members takes their hat off Jaybo jay-z appears underneath saying still nigga. still nigga.

This moment in the video is an important part of the video because it can have ties to the O.J. Simpson dilemma. It's clear that jay-z is telling us even if you're black and in the KKK you're still black. It goes off what jay-z said earlier about O.J. and those who try to separate themselves from the culture. He could also be referring to the 1966 film the black Klansman that revolves around a black man's daughter being killed by the KKK so he attempts to join the cult and destroy it from the inside. These are depictions of logos because it appeals to one's logic reason and judgment. There are several instances where pathos is demonstrated within Jay-Zs music video. One example would be through the music and the tone of what is being said. his tone is so accusing yet the singing sounds pleading. This mixture is used to make his audience feel pity but yet empowered to make a change.

The black cartoons in the video are seemingly intended to resemble racist imagery from the 19th century that over-exaggerated the facial features of black people. Jay-Zs use of these cartoons to highlight the lines in the chorus where he's basically saying it doesn't matter how successful you are or how poor you are because your social status means nothing in the eyes of racist people. Jay-Zs repurposing of the signifiers of black cartoons and inferiority to put forward a powerful even instructional message of the collective power that black folk could wield by wearing the mask of cartoon and inferiority to keep white folks mislead while we uplift ourselves economically right under their noses. There are some instances that appeals to credibility. Jay-Z is black himself and is seen as an educated black man so people are prone to believe his stories and perspective about race in America.

In addition, when Jay-Z talks heavily about money in America and talks about money within the industry the audience is more prone to believe him because he is a millionaire with multiple business and investments. Jay-Z has been a music icon for two decades and it shows in this music video. By mixing references from black history with the knowledge he's rapping to listeners Jay-Z is trying to show us where we came from and prove just how much progress we have to make and still haven't made. Sure, slavery ended over 200 years ago. But as the song states, instead of being enslaved physically, the black community is still enslaved financially. Using such a controversial character like OJ Simpson to explain the importance of financial responsibility to the culture while using visuals to represent those ideals is amazing in the song “The Story of OJ”.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Analysis of Song: The Story of O.J. by Jay-Z. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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