The first song, released in my lifetime, that popped into my mind when thinking about this podcast was Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.”. It is a truly powerful song, not only lyrically but also instrumentally and visually. I grew up listening to hip-hop and rap music, and when I hear a song that is created to help create change or spread protest of injustice then it immediately intrigues me. Jay-Z in this song hooks you in as a listener, you want to listen to the entire song to hear what he says next about the topic. This song is both an argument and a protest, Jay-Z addresses the many issues in the entertainment business dealing with race and class. He implies in the song that O.J. was seen as innocent because of his prior reputation and status in society, being rich and famous. This goes deeper into the societal issues still present today, including stigmas, racism, profiling, and major ignorance.

Analyzing and discussing this song will most likely lead me to more content about this social injustice and the stigmas that attach to it. Black males in the entertainment industry, according to Jay-Z, get certain treatment that others of the same race don’t have. “The Story of O.J.” is extremely symbolic to that, also using old cartoons of “black face” in the music video. The style of “black face” in the video opens a whole new discussion and platform to research, because there is not only the message that Jay-Z is trying to communicate, but the interpretations of the audience as well. This relates to the history of the industry and how black people were perceived by an art that was mostly owned by white people; every line and image is a symbol or message being portrayed to the audience.

I am a musician, a fan of music, and an artist, so I am familiar with the use of metaphors and symbolism. I use those skills to help analyze other’s art and music, which gives the song or piece of art more meaning. Additionally, my interest and education in sociology will be a great help. I want to further understand protests and arguments in art to help relate and connect what’s shown to reality. When I listen to a song or look at a piece of art, I listen for those messages and care about the call to action the artist to making. “The Story of O.J.” says to me that it is time to pay more attention and to stop giving control to the media in order to create the needed change in society. This is a song that I would not get tired of studying, true to the roots of hip-hop and meaningful to understand. The more you listen to it the more you will get out of the song and the message behind it, even if there are concerns that might hold that process back.

For instance, for this podcast, I might have some difficulty discussing topics about racism and stigmas because of my personal life experiences. I cannot truly relate to the content being rapped or sung about because I grew up differently, but I can analyze and try to understand it in order to be open about such issues.





– Justin Leon