It feels like ages since fans have seen a traditional hip hop music video from Jay-Z. Instead, the rapper staged a performance art piece to Picasso Baby, released visuals with Lupita Nyong’o and Mahershala Ali to tease his new album 4:44 and, with his new music video for The Story of O.J., turned himself into a blackface cartoon.
After sharing a snippet from the Story of O.J. video accompanying 4:44′s release on Tidal last week, the full video arrived on Thursday, an unsettling four minutes of black-and-white animation, meant to mimic blackface characters and other racist imagery of vintage Disneyand Warner Bros. cartoons, among other studios guilty of using those representations.
In anticipation of the video’s release, the rapper explained his motivations behind Story of O.J. politically-motivated lyrics in an 8-minute mini documentary, Footnotes for The Story of O.J., released on Tidal on Monday.
“O.J. would get to a space where he’s like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ Like Tiger Woods would get to a space and think, ‘I’m above the culture,'” he said. “And that same person when he’s playing golf and playing great, you’re protected. When you’re not, they’re gonna put pictures of you drunk driving and, like, embarrass you. That world will eat you up and spit you out.”
While The Story of O.J. isn’t entirely about Simpson, the track’s first verse shows the rapper rolling his eyes at one of the disgraced football player’s most notorious alleged quotes. “O.J. like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ … Okay.”
Jay also has words for Bill Maher on the song, referencing the recent Real Time episodewhen the host dropped the n-word: “House (expletive), don’t (expletive) with me / I’m a field (expletive) with shined cutlery.”