Jay-Z Got 99% Problems
The idea of Jay-Z supporting Occupy Wall Street is pretty cool. The hip hop world is built on the concept of entrepeunership, and one of the complaints OWS has is that the system is now rigged in favor of those with wealth and power, keeping others down. Fighting that power with an eye to self-enrichment is very hip hop, I think. And the t-shirts he created, that say Occupy All Streets, are actually pretty fucking cool.
Too bad he keeps all the money for himself, essentially cashing in on a grass roots protest movement. Uncool, Jay-Z!
Now sculptor Daniel Edwards - famous for pop culture sculptures like Oprah Winfrey's Death Mask and Britney Spears giving birth - has immortalized Jay-Z as the base of a totem pole of greed. The other heads in the totem pole include Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, Scrooge McDuck and Richie Rich.
Talking to XXL, Edwards said “I think Jay-Z has made himself a face of [the] Wall Street that Occupiers are protesting against... Maybe Jay-Z is striving to be in the one percent? Which is why I chose the composition of a totem pole because I thought it would resemble the number one. Rap stars who turn ‘Scrooge’ have to suffer some damage to their street credibility.”
Actually, I think Jay-Z is very, very comfortably in the 1%. Although Edwards draws attention to the interesting dichotomy rappers must face - hip hop is a capitalist game, but being seen as straying too far from your street roots is seen as selling out. You need to make money but still stay humble, and I don't think anyone has ever accused Hov of being humble.