“The Story of O.J.” has a music lineage rooting back to songs throughout history about oppression, racism, and wealth in America. Jay-Z creates music that reflects his beliefs and opinions, and this song reflects the state of the racial wealth gap in America and how to address it. Many societal and sociological issues stem from the racial wealth gap in America and what it’s rooted around, it causes a domino effect of many other societal problems still occurring today. Here is a link to more information regarding this issue and graphs to better gain perspective of how marginalized groups become stuck and lose control of their own future:


The lineage I created includes: Nina Simone’s “Pirate Jenny” in 1964 < Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” in 1982 < David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” in 1995 < Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J” in 2017. Each of these songs represents their own time period’s current struggles and progress with activism. Each artist tells a story or narrative from their point of view on where America is regarding progression. “The Story of O.J.” connects to many messages and songs, and even samples one of Simone’s tracks, but the underlying aspect is that these artists have a message to share.

The racial wealth gap goes back to Simone’s 1964 “Pirate Jenny”, discussing the roots of working, labor, and finance. Addressing the fact that hard working citizens cannot dig themselves out of a financial hole because of institutionalized racism. “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash addresses the analogy of America being a jungle of competition with no room to grow for marginalized groups, similar to how Jay-Z talks about the competition. David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” in 1995 is a good representation of the lack of growth America is seeing and the frustration behind activists like Bowie. They approach each message in their own way, but they connect as a lineage of activism through music.