Jay-Z Says Lack Of A Middle Class Is America's "Real Problem"

Jay-Z argues that better jobs are better than added police during his appearance on "Real Time With Bill Maher."

Noted Brooklyn emcee Jay-Z recently joined a handful of experts for a round-table discussion while on “Real Time With Bill Maher” to address “concern-trolling” by politicians, public housing, and New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices.

When asked to share his thoughts on the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, Jay-Z commented on the lack of a middle-class and how much of a “real problem” that is in the United States. He also touched on the widening economic gap and the oppression that will eventually reach a tipping point.

“I don’t really wanna scare America, but the real problem is there’s no middle-class,” said the Magna Carta Holy Grail rapper. “So, the gap between the have and the have-not’s is getting wider and wider. Let me finish this point because I do want to scare them a little bit. It’s gonna be a problem that no amount of police can solve because once you have that sort of oppression and that gap is widening, it’s inevitable that something’s gonna happen, period.”

Joining Jay-Z during the round-table discussion was former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank who argued for added police presence, especially for those in public housing. As a former resident of Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy Projects, Jay-Z countered Frank’s remarks by stating that instead of more cops, people need to be moved out of public housing all together.

“They deserve to get out of there. Public housing was a temporary stop…I grew up in Marcy Projects, public housing was a temporary stop until you got yourself together and you moved on,” Jay-Z explained.

Jay-Z isn’t the first artist to go on to express their opposition to New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices. Last year, Talib Kweli appeared at a police reform rally in Brooklyn and delivered a speech to attendee’s about the suspicious nature of stop-and-frisk.

RELATED: Talib Kweli Criticizes New York City's Stop-And-Frisk Practices

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87 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Hate to pop people's bubbles but Jay-Z is right. For decades now the middle class has seen it's real earning power eroded. The decline was masked by the ability to take on more and more debt and to buy cheap goods made in China. Now, America is awash is low-quality jobs. I'll tell you a story that broke my heart. I'm 50yrs+ and retired and living abroad. I recently visited New York City on holiday. Most of the reception desk staff and ALL the doormen and car drivers in the apartment building where i stayed were of color. When i went to Macy's to shop, all the salespeople were of color. The 60yr old guy (of color) in the shoe department who helped me asked if i would be sure to come back to him if i wanted anything else because he works on commission---- a 60yr old guy who should be getting ready for retirement needs my commission? I thought-- something is wrong with this picture. Whatever happened to 60yr old guys who had worked their way up in companies, even if only to be supervisors on an assembly line? Whatever happened to all the high-quality, clean jobs promised by the Dems and Repubs in the 80s and 90s when unions were busted up and manufacturing jobs moved overseas????? I guess that didn't pan out but nobody wants to talk about it (except Obama). I got a great education, worked hard and benefited tremendously from the 80/90s investment boom. Granted, i made sound financial decisions and took on little to no debt--- but, it seems many did the opposite. They splurged on non-essential shopping sprees using credit cards. They bought houses they could not afford. Now, they are middle-aged and saddled with debt and little to no net worth. Many have no healthcare and must work well into their 70s to make ends meet. Something has gone wrong with America if people think this is okay. People in other western countries may not have the flashy cars and big houses that Americans think are "normal" but those people also don't have so much debt and their net worth is higher. In other words, they are still middle class and can probably retire and leave their kids something.

  • Anonymous

    It's people like you the FOX sheep who always blame the poor The poor do not make economic decisions within the corridors of power. They also do not have special interest groups whispering in the ears of the powerful. The poor did not decide that the financial institutions need a bailout due to incompetence of the people in charge... ^ preach the same lemmings seem to forget that medicare, farming subsidiaries, tax breaks AND filing credits, food stamps are gov't handouts and they get those. these white kids think they're all part of the 1% and are entitled because they're white, but in the real world we see their folk using ebt cards for junk food, with signs on the highway ramps, with severe drug addictions, knee deep in credit debt trying to play rich for their neighbors. that's when you can tell they're still reading those 1960's klan pamphlets.

    • Mike

      Well said it's not about black or white anymore being white does not protect us from the financial shit-storm we are all in .

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    Jay-Z's point about there being "no middle class" is way incorrect. The gap between the rich and poor is widening but not to the degree that the middle class is abolished.

    • real

      Jayz is correct their is no middle class. Stats are proving that right now. More than half the country is considered poor or live check to check. Check the facts before you comment

  • Real Talk 1000

    Youtube this, not on some spam bs, this is related to JayZ's comments. "The Fed Did It. Ron Paul and Peter Schiff were Right" "Peter Schiff Was Right" & also "Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One" by Peter Schiff. I guarantee this will enlighten you and lead you to adequate explanations in political and economic terms as to the destruction of America's middle class over the past 30-40 years. And if you happen to be further intrigued, Youtube this: "Why You Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920" by Dr. Tom Woods

  • ALEONB

    FREE MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD! Look out for ALEONB! http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/aleonb-alienation-mixtape.91966.html

  • Anonymous

    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzBh55tD_eg

  • imho

    hes right- but didnt he not pay his 40/40 employees..aka 'us'?

  • shai

    He's the reason for half the people in the lower class (Dame Dash, State Prop, Diplomats and Tierra Mari)

  • IROC

    Jay Z touched on a subject that has been happening over the last 5yrs as a result of fmr President bush and the republican party started ,and with the Tea party running congress we still are suffering under this crap they want to cut out the middle class period only Rich & Poor will be left , Only GOD can save America and thats fact !

  • M

    I'm pretty surprised Jay has the Republican opinion of only letting people stay on public housing for a period of time to get their lives together. More power to him for that. With that said, I am middle class, and so is every single person I am friends with.

  • Erica D. Roark

    as Michelle replied I'm dazzled that a stay at home mom can earn $9940 in one month on the computer. have you seen this web page... www.Can99.com Something tells me that this is going to end up being released on the same day as Detox.

  • Truth

    What does Gay-z know about Politics and Economy? This FOOL didn't know what OCCUPY WALL STREET was about! This gay muthafucka is pure trash

  • Nasstill@it

    Jay Z's Laugh though. Lmao! But I feel him.

  • Anonymous

    Jay Z haters are worthless tools. FOH.

  • Anonymous

    THE REAL QUESTION IS WHERE IS JA ?? WE NEED JA RULE TO MAKE SENSE OF ALL THIS

  • FOR FUCK SAKE YOU HHDX CUNTS

    FOR GOD SAKE SM1 PLEASE TELL THIS CAMEL TO FUCK OFFF

  • Kizman

    The only reason why people don't consider Jay to be the greatest is because he aint dead yet. We jump on everyone's dick when they die. If pac and biggie were alive today, they likely would be retired and have a reality show done on VH1. Longevity is the test of greatness. This dude is forty years old, and is still releasing #1 albums, and even his first #1 hit. He a one of the most powerful hip hop moguls, and one of the wealthiest. Most young MC's credit Jay for their influence than any others

    • ^ Lemmings^

      It's so fashionable to hate Jay Z these days it's actually becoming boring . If 2 Pac was alive now all you white trolls would be saying he needs to get off the black power bullshit his rich an actor he has Hollywood friends . You would all conveniently forget the struggle that came before the success !!! People like Big Bad Barrio clearly a WHITE GUY are acting like the sheep they claim to dislike so much

    • Big Bad Barrio 18, E'z up!

      I never could stand Jay-Z. I remember when his debut album dropped and peeps weren't feeling it but now it's considered a classic. Fuck that shit. Jay-Z is literally able to sell so many albums now because of his name. The dude could fart on wax, call it the "Fart Song" and his fans would be buying it up and talking about how "dope" it is. So many brainwashed CLOWNS on this planet. Jay is not as good as you think.

    • Anonymous

      He's got Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album.

    • Anonymous

      thats because clearly Jay hasn't got a "Ready To Die" or "Eyes On Me" And lets be real..How many of Jays mainstream fans know what hip hop is/or care about the music they are actually purchasing, As long as their up on the latest shit, doing what everybody else is doing the sheep are easily fed and satisfied to watch a artist with some successs

  • David Bunz

    I don't think someone has the credibility to remark on the middle class when they're bff's with egomaniacs such as Kanye West, boast relentlessly, and refer to themselves as a "god" in their songs (persona or not) and then turn around and want to act like they have some wisdom to spread. This dude has been a millionaire since his 20s. I do like his point about getting your shit together. But it's hard to get your shit together on minimum wage or at a job that makes you happy. And when the government allows corporations to employ millions of illegal immigrants that pull down our educational and financial infrastructures. The system is far to big to ever be fixed, so all we'll ever do is talk about it... and fight on the internet about it.

  • SMH

    Jay Z might just be the most hated artist of all time, and is all due because of his unattainable success. I know I will catch a lot of jabs but Jay Z has done more for the public than Tupac ever did. People like Belafonte make assumptions of a multi millionaire man without doing any worthy research.

    • ^Peasants will be Peasants ^

      Thanks for your anonymous personal insight it means so much to hear from someone who actually knows about HIS charitable endeavors which according to you he has none ...NOT EVEN FOR TAX RIGHT OFF PURPOSES ?..

    • Anonymous

      you're an idiot if you really think jay-z do something for the people jay-z is like diddy, he only cares bout himself

  • Anonymous

    No middle class? Bullshit! The problem with America is people wanting fucking handouts. He is supporting the destruction of this country, and the fact that people listen to the shit he spouts is quite disheartening.

    • O.K Blame The Poor

      @ original anon .. So by your reckoning the squeeze on the middle classes which by the way also contains Latins and Blacks has nothing to do with those at the top but is all the fault of the poor . ANON here are some facts for you : "four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be "poor" or "low income" Average household income has fallen by 7.8 percent since the year 2000 The largest employer in the United States right now is Wal-Mart. The second largest employer in the United States right now is a temp agency (Kelly Services) In the year 2000, about 17 million Americans were employed in manufacturing. Today, only about 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing Today, approximately 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty The number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain. ( By the way Spain i.e the Euro is fucked at this present time ) It's people like you the FOX sheep who always blame the poor The poor do not make economic decisions within the corridors of power . They also do not have special interest groups whispering in the ears of the powerful . The poor did not decide that the financial institutions need a bailout due to incompetence of the people in charge .. I.E...The poor were not responsible for destroying the economy and strangling small businesses by refusing them desperately needed credit And one last point the "prosperity" of America over the last 40 years has been built mostly on debt, which isn't real "wealth" at all, but an illusion WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE STOP BEING A LEMMING !

    • The 1%

      You have no understanding of economics let's just leave it at that

    • Original Anon

      No, I read the whole article. Jay-Z might not believe in total dependency, but he still believes that welfare isn't sufficient to many communities. The main thing that angered me was "no middle class". There is a middle class, but a classic liberal technique is to pander to the poor, offering entitlements while the middle class is taxed for it.

    • danny

      @Lei Shen if you're saying that government handouts are the best way to alleviate the wealth gap then you're a moron. You really think that free money and benefits are going to help people become "middle class" again? Shit, if I was collecting government checks to sit on my ass and smoke weed all day I'd just buy a fat ass TV and veg all day.

    • Stress Kills

      @ anonymous ..Misguided angry white guy alert !!!!!

    • Lei Shen

      Actually, it seems you may have been so angry that you did miss the good point discussed in his article that he did make. Which is that he disagrees with Barney Frank about public housing. Frank, being a clueless politician looking for the easiest liberal answer says they need to add police to the projects, while Jay says that the focus should be on getting people out of these slums. Furthermore I noticed that it looks like you don't technically disagree with Jay-Z either, because entitlement reform would obviously lead to putting more people into the middle class. From poor, there is nowhere to go but up once the game has been changed for welfare recipients, etc. If you don't like Jay-Z, that's fine, but at least give the man credit for making a good point.

  • Anonymous

    Jay spoke the truth. GOAT.

  • Anonymous

    I love when this dude tries to act smart by saying confusing, meaningless, things. Money doesn't equal intelligence...He's just so awkward.

  • Leah G. Smead

    I accept that my best friend was actually earning money in their spare time on their apple laptop.. there uncle started doing this 4 only about twenty one months and as of now repayed the loans on there place and got a top of the range Chevrolet. I went here, WWW.CAn99Com Jay Z is soooo ignorant, he cant even finish a sentence without "you know"

  • Anonymous

    Since he was the representative for the Dept. Of Treasury to Cuba, perhaps Jay-Z can also give us an solution to this economic problem, as he has so much White House influence.

  • Anon

    With all his money, he could buy houses for all the Marcy Projects residents and help them to move out of "the hood" if he wanted to.. talk is cheap Mr. Camel.

    • AMERICANS :)

      Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

    • Anonymous

      Many people in NYC projects have jobs and much of the rent ain't cheap, some pay more than a mortgage. That's right, many are paying just as much as homeowners, if not more once all the taxes kick in for utilities and expenses. With 9 million people out there, how quick would it be for you to move into a home in NYC? Think there are that many homes in NYC? There are more rich people living in condos than homes, ain't no space. Waiting lists for apartments. loft space costing more than homes. What are you guys talking about? You don't know the reality of NYC real estate, don't be so quick to speak on it like you do.

    • Anonymous

      Money alone does absolutely nothing, you fucking idiot.

    • Anonymous

      Yep they would end up losing them houses once they couldnt afford to pay their taxes

    • Dylan Dudicle

      Houses that would turn to shit because these people would probably remain jobless, and let's not get into the monthly expenses and utilities for living in a house. On top of that, how do you prioritize who gets a house? He couldn't afford on for everyone, and if he left people out, not everyone would get a fair deal. It's a lot more complicated than you'd think.

  • attention whore

    this attention whore is everydayb in the news only because he has an album out. Normally you hear nothing from this attention whore.

    • Anonymous

      Right its his fault all the hip-hop websites choose to run stories on him and that all the major media outlets wants to interview him! Fuck him for promoting his new project he should have just put it out and let it flop

  • Anonymous

    Jay Z is soooo ignorant, he cant even finish a sentence without "you know"

  • Anonymous

    He jayz you dumb camel looking satanist!! Why dont you actually go put some money into the marcy projects and brooklyn whre your from??? O because you are an illuminati puppet who hangs with rich white men.. ya'll niggas cant see JAYZ SOLD HIS SOUL??? you need to wake up

  • Pete

    of course they want more police. its a fucking police state. we the citizens are seen as the enemy to these pigs.

    • Not so simple

      @ 2ND Anon you guys across the channel are such lemmings you soak up all the misinformation and actually think it's the gospel truth ..LOLZ ..

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous1 ain't Black, doesn't know how easy it is for a Black male, even in a suit coming home from work, or going to the store for bread, to get stopped and frisked. But they know who's strapped, how they think and what the cops go through. LOL. Take that FOX news bullshit somewhere else clown.

    • Pete

      So since more "people are carrying guns" its okay to have stop and frisk? This tactic is unlawful and is only used against people of color. It gives the right of the police to racial profile and infringe on the citizens' rights.

    • Anonymous

      I imagine you are a TROLL! Cops create the problems with there brutal violent illegal excessive force. Stupid SHEEP sounding mofo! GTFOH

    • Anonymous

      I imagine if you were patrolling the streets and had to deal with all the shit these cops see on a daily, you'd understand more why these strong arm tactics are becoming more common. Fact is more and more people are walking around strapped, and the only reason they don't want to be frisked or questioned is because the cops would find drugs and guns on them.

  • Myrezy

    Lupe is the last intelligent rapper in the game. Thats the truth. No one wants to admit it, but I have no problem saying it. When it comes to the rap game 98% of its players are fucking ignorant to the core.

    • Lei Shen

      @Myrezy: I have to strongly disagree with you on this point. If you think that Lupe Fiasco is the only intelligent rapper in the genre you owe it to yourself to do two things: 1.) Watch the Youtube video of him with Bill O'Reilly. Look I don't care if you like O'Reilly or not, the point is to see what he (Lupe) thinks about the government and how he chooses to respond to O'Reilly on a debate show he decided to join. An embarrassing moment for Lupe. 2.) If you have an open mind, you might try to expand your search of intellectual rappers online. Canibus, Talib, Greydon Square, Prince Ea, Nas, the Rza (post drug days). There are way more outside of them. It just requires going outside the boundaries of what the radio prescribes for you to listen to.

    • Anonymous

      best post in a long time on HHDX

  • big rome

    How come you never see the white man as a whole, head down problem ridden, on the bottom. reminds me of the curse god put on his kids the (Israelites) for disobeying. Once black people realizes we are the children of Israel and we go through this mess cause of the curse. (Deuteronomy) 28:64. And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you. From Travon Martin to blacks being at the bottom of economic ladder. Black People need to wake up!

    • Big Moor

      LOL...."How come you never see the white man as a whole, head down problem ridden, on the bottom You really think that go visit parts of eastern Europe or even in your own backyard Steubenville, Ohio-Weirton or how's about Maine . You have the intelligence of a lobotomized sewer rat

  • COCA

    JAY-Z NEEDS TO QUIT TALKING POLITICS... HAVING MONEY DOESN'T MAKE YOU AN INTELLECTUAL... JUST STICK TO MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT.

  • FlyQ the Anchor

    Okay okay. I know this is usually annoying when rappers use this route. For fuck sakes though, how's a guy in a small market supposed to get exposure? Come on, just give me 5 minutes and listen to this super depressing song I made. Dont listen if you dislike lyrical music. So if you're an idiot keep scrolling. https://soundcloud.com/theanchor/start-a-war

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