Jay Z’s “99 Problems” was an influential hit back in 2004. Many of us found ourselves bouncing to Rick Rubin’s production and rapping the lyrics.
Over a decade later, Jay Z’s song is more relevant than ever due to the police-related shooting deaths of Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Trayvon Martin and numerous others.
Once again, the issue of police brutality, at the front and center of American politics in 2015.
Jay Z’s version of “99 Problems” was based in part, on a real incident in 1994, which the rapper detailed in his book “Decoded.” When Jay Z was pulled over, he was also presented with the option of fleeing from the police.
The rapper decided to stay put.
“This dialogue is about the tension between a cop who knows that legally he’s dead wrong for stopping someone with no probable cause other than race, and a narrator who knows that legally he’s dead wrong for moving the crack,” Jay Z wrote in “Decoded.” “The conversation is casual and consequential all at once and shows how slippery language is, depending which side of the conversation you’re on.”
Sadly for Walter Scott, 50, of Charleston, South Carolina, he did the opposite and decided to flee from North Charleston police officer, Michael T. Slager