Music Video Analysis
Primary Audience The primary audience for this music video Is African American males.
The second verse of the music video shows Jay-Z getting pulled over by a Caucasian policeman for something coming out from a discriminating heart-?he gets pulled over for driving fifty-five miles per hour in a fifty-four MPH zone. Feeling discriminated, Jay-Z raps about what happened and shows that this incident is Just one of the many incidents of which him and his race deal with In their daily lives. Driving one mile over the speed limit Is something that police would believe Is not worth wasting time r effort to pull one over.However, because Jay-Z Is from African decent. It Is Implied that Caucasians do not feel safe about African Americans driving around the streets -?Caucasians may believe that African Americans are dangerous, criminals, and/or a possible threat to the community. Another verse in the song refers to the court trial that Jay-Z faced in 1999. One day In “Kit Kate Club”, located In Times Square of New York City, Jay-Z “was accused of stabbing record executive Lance On’ Riviera for River’s bootlegging of Jay-G’s third record ‘Life and Times of S.
Carter” (Wisped, Biography). This Incident led Jay-Z to court for a trial.In the end, the court ruled that Jay-Z can bail out for half off million dollars for what he had done. Although he stabbed a person, something that is immoral and almost unforgivable, Jay-Z complains in his song about spotting another sign of the government’s discrimination against his race. Paying half a million dollar ball Is an Incredibly large amount of money, especially when the crime did not lead to death or can not be classified as attempted murder. If the criminal were from another race, per SE a Caucasian criminal, they may be able to bail out with approximately two thousand dollars.Due to the fact that Jay-Z is of African decent, the court’s action implied that an African American criminal should pay more than any other criminals would pay-?once again, African American males seem to be “threats” and “dangerous” beings in “white” communities.
From court’s perspective, it Is beneficial to keep African Americans In Jail or only allowing them out at an expensive ball amount, for they are not trustworthy and may commit crime any time soon after release. To his audience, Jay-Z is trying to show the various problems he had to endure just for being who he is.Therefore, he created his video in this particular manner to show the injustice that the government is enforcing on African American males and to tell his race that this is not just anyone’s problem that they could care less about. One of them might go, or perhaps have gone, through the On the other hand, in a broader range, the secondary audiences are all males in general. By this time, it is clear that Jay-Z had gone through tough times throughout his career. He was caught selling drugs several times, was discriminated by the society, spent time in Jail, and has “foes that want make sure his casket’s loses” (Verse 1, line 2).Metaphorically speaking, he had “99” problems which were important landmarks and may have been major threats in his life.
Going through all the conflicts, Jay-Z still survives and stands firm and takes a look at other males with their minor problems-?for example, having girl problems. In the chorus of his song, he says that he has “99 problems but a pitch anti one, if you are having’ girl problems I feel bad for you son”(Chorus). The feeling bad’ part of the chorus is not the literal intention of what Jay-Z is trying to tell the males with girl problems.He is being racist and indirectly criticizing them for complaining for such little problems, compared to what Jay-Z went through. Here is Jay-Z who went through life or death problems looking at males who are complaining about little problems-?it is almost comical to see them complaining from Jay-G’s perspective. Through the music video, Jay-Z is sending a message to his audiences that we all have some kind of problems, big or small. He has gone through much worse than people who are dwelling on girl problems-?life is not easy, but we all have to deal with it and move on.
Informative Purpose that Directs to EthosIn “99 Problems”, Jay-Z is literally talking about the major problems that he has gone through. For stabbing Lance “Un” Riviera, people who were associated with Riviera still has grudge against him today. In verse one of the song, Jay-Z raps about how “foes want make sure his casket’s closed” (Verse One, line two) which means people want to kill him as a revenge for stabbing Riviera. Another set of fact that Jay-Z states is about a Caucasian cop pulling him over for speeding one mile over. The second verse of the lyrics he wrote are basically a conversation between the cop and Jay-Z.In the song, Jay-Z tries to imitate how the Caucasian cop spoke to him-?with a white accent and a walked-talkie voice. By using the imitation of cop’s language as part of his lyrics, it makes the song very informative and gives it more credibility.
Since his lyrics contain information about what happened to Jay-Z, it supports the ethos of his music video. He talks about him going from “rags-to-retches” (Verse 1, Line 15) which is believable with his drug selling problem. Although it is illegal, Jay-Z, living in rags, had to sell drugs to survive.His experiences makes him very credible enabling us as he audience to believe in what he has to say about problems and ways of survival in the ghettos. What Jay-Z says would not be credible if someone who grew up rich were to sing this song-?for instance, Victoria Beckman who had a “wealthy upbringing ever since she was born” (Wisped, Biography). Jay-Z, who used to be poor from the beginning of his music career, struggled through all the problems and was able to achieve one of the highest positions in the music industry. Thus, what he says about the problems and his ghetto scenes in the music video are very likely to be credible.
Further Purpose Although Jay-Z is talking about problems he faced throughout his career, it does not have to have such a negative feeling in the song. The message from the music video can be interpreted in a rather optimistic way to the audiences. By using his song as a tool to glorify himself-?for how he endured through tough situations without aid from anyone. Once again, he went through the most miserable times that anyone could ever be placed in-?stabbed someone, punished in Jail, sold drugs, discriminated, and much more. But who was there to help him fulfill hisAmerican Dream? No one. Jay-Z had endured everything all by himself. The only help Jay-Z had was a little bit of knowledge that he picked up on the streets about having individual rights.
In the second verse, when Jay-Z was pulled over for speeding, the cops ask him to step out of the car to see if he is “carrying a weapon on” him and asks to search his car (Verse 2, line 13). Jay-Z did not back down but rather “knew his rights so the cop is going to need a warrant” (verse 2, line 19). When he knew his individual rights, he declared them. When he had to pay his bail amount, he id it.With his individual effort, he fought through everything. Now, he is using this music video as a tool to make people know what went on with him and to praise him for what he did. Jay-Z wants to show that he is that tough.
This can also be a type of persuasive purpose for he is trying to promote admiration for himself and show his strong male identity that will appeal to his audience. American Dream: Conclusion In conclusion, Jay-Z obtained his American Dream at last; going from rags-to- riches. Interestingly, all the problems and steps that he took to reach the top could e referred to as American Nightmares.Jay-Z is giving a message to his audience that although it was really tough, he endured through the nightmares: accused, jailed, almost killed, discriminated, and etc. It was almost impossible to deal with them but he accomplished his American Dream. The admirable part is that he dealt with them all by himself. Because he was able to fulfill a difficult task, fulfilling American Dream in his given condition to start with, he is messaging to his audience that he is the man who should be respected and promoted for admiration.