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Amethyst Ralph

When reading this article I actually found it very interesting. To see how similar these two vastly different people are was astonishing. When Samuel pointed out why Jay-Z can celebrate his riches I completely agreed. Jay-Z can so openly celebrate his talent and wealth because of his back story. He has a rags to riches back story; everyone cannot help but admire him. For someone to exude the American dream, someone who has also come from the same background can only admire and congratulate him. When Jay-Z stated that everyone is born with some genius level of talent, I completely agree. Everyone has a certain talent that could contribute so much good to the world. If it is entertainment, intelligence, or creativity someone always has something they thrive in. One of my talents is that I am very good with dogs and baking. So why not develop the tool and bake doggie cookies or even open up a store front. Everyone can develop their talents into a profit as long as they believe they can. Samuel’s says that Obama could learn from Jay-Z because they are two of the same. Jay-Z is trusted by his fans because he is honest, upfront, and comes from a humble background. Americans trust Obama because he is familiar. He comes from the same beginnings like most Americans and is relatable. Obama is on a platform like Jay-Z to make a stance and change in lives. The see Obama as being the American dream and hopefully with new policies they can have dreams as well. I did find Jay-Z story inspirational, because we came from some of the same things. I grew up poor in a rat infested apartment, but still managed to get to college. He managed to make something more of himself from his poor childhood. I look up to any celebrities who have gone through what I have, but are still humble. People such as Cher and Brad Pitt grew up poor but still are very normal. They contribute to society and rarely does the public see arrogance from them. They reached their dream and are constantly reaching back to help anyone else. They are on a platform to contribute, and with gained trust from society they can make major changes.

Salmon Mumtaz

Before reading this blog, I was unaware how politically involved Jay-Z was. It was very surprising to me that Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen, both dazzling American musicians, donated a great amount of money towards the support of Obama's campaign. The downfall to this is that Jay-Z is constantly brought up on this matter during hip hop interviews. Not only is Jay-Z brought up in conversations among the situation, critics have also assumed that this could lead Jay-Z towards selling out. Jay-Z may be politically involved with donations and supports the President, but it does not surly mean that Jay-Z sell out. Not only has Jay-Z donated towards Obama's campaign, he is opened up a opportunity for star performers of all kinds while emphasizing the democratic expectation of equality. Jay-Z clearly does more than create music. He is always politically involved and working towards creating a better community. He does more than any other rapper I know. Jay-Z continues to drive to surpass at his craft and his ability locate virtue in difficult situations. The reason why he is considered a "consummate artist of a society" is because he has the power and capability to turn a social distance into an emotional relationship along with his audiences. Furthermore, Jay-Z had made some bad investments when it came towards purchase a piece of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. He owns 15th of one percent, which led to a bunch of criticism. Even though Jay-Z had made a bad investment, coming from being a drug dealer in a single parent household in a housing project, Jay-Z has come a long way from the bottom. In many other opinions such as mine, Jay-Z will continue to stay original along with staying politically involved, and soon will be some sort of a voice for America. This is why some believe Obama can learn from Jay-Z after the 2012 elections. People feel that Jay-Z reaches out to people more and maintains a extremely large amount of loyal fans.

Michelle Tran

It is so amazing how David Samuels’ article can link two people with completely different careers together and even suggest what Barack Obama, the President of the United States can learn from Jay-Z, rap artist. Jay-Z’s rise from rags to riches is a story that many can relate to in some way. He rapped of his money trouble and the cruel fates that the world threw at him, but he also raps about the luxuries he now has because of his talent of rhymes, rhythm, and beat. He connects people from different culture and backgrounds, inspiring their dreams and urging to strive better so that they can be on top of the world like Jay-Z. In short, Obama needs to remind America that hard work and emotional honesty is all they need to live a full life. He needs to get them worked up and moving, exciting them to strive for better and to work harder like Jay-Z does at his concerts. I believe in the message that Samuels claims that Jay-Z gives from his music and it will guide me as well as many others out of the shadows and into the light. I simply love how Samuels talks of Jay-Z’s ability to link and connect many different attributes in his songs that attract the attention of so many different people and together when listening to the song, they are one. Like Salmon Mumtaz, before this article I was unaware of Jay-Z’s political influence, but I am glad that he has a powerful message that inspires hard work. Jay-Z’s amazing life story should inspire everyone, even if they are spiraling towards a dark place. He was once a drug-dealer, but he changed because he wanted better. Everyone, not just Obama should take a page from Jay-Z’s book and work hard.


According to Samuels, the "real reason' that jay-z "can so openly celebrate his talents and wealth" is because not simply his genius at marketing, but the fact that his rags-to-riches stay is, in fact, a true incarnation of the American dream. I do agree with Jay-Z when he stated that everyone is born with "genius-level talent" and that it is each one's responsibility to identify and develop that talent. Because everybody does have their own talent and that they do just have to find it because they do have it. I believe that my own talent is fashion. What I can do to develop it is pursue it and actually do something with it. What Samuels argue that President Obama can learn from Jay-Z is that Obama needs to be equally balanced basically. I do agree because if your the president you need to be able to see the point of view from each side, good or bad. Also you need to know how to move forward from that. A celebrity that has inspired me to dream and to strive to realize my dreams would be Kimora Lee Simmons. Kimora is a model from St.Louis, Missouri. She is 37 years old. In 1999 Kimora launched her own clothing line, which is currently known as Baby Phat. Kimora also published her own book, which is called "What it is and How to get it" in February 2006. On September 1, 2010 Kimora parted ways with Baby Phat and its management company. Kimora also aired season 1 of her reality show, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, on August 5, 2007. All according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimora_Lee_Simmons .

James Wert

David Samuels argues within his article that Jay Z can celebrate his talent and riches openly for one big reason. That is because he started off in the same situation much of our nation is in, struggling to make ends meet. He was a drug dealer from a neighborhood consisting of project housing, living with a single mom. He rose from rags to riches, and he lived the 'American Dream'. Samuels also argues that Obama could learn a lot from Jay Z and how he is able make people that, even though they are on the polar opposite of the economic spectrum from him, relate to him and feel a sense of connection. Obama must use the same ability of connecting his life story to the life stories of all Americans if he is to have any chance of keeping their trust and preventing a disconnect.

James Wert


The argument that Samuels pushes is one that is very true in my eyes, and President Obama, if given advice such as this, would do well to listen to it. Right now there is a major disconnect between him and much of his constituency. If he does not mend this rift, it will continue to grow until it threatens his administration's credibility. If he loses all credibility with the American people, his administration will flounder and be seen as an abject failure. I agree with many of the comments above that not only Obama could learn from this lesson, but also the American people at large could benefit from it.


This blog opened my eyes into what a remarkable business, marketing, and political man Jay-Z really is. And I now think there are lots of people out there that are trying to build their own “fan base”, in some sort of way, that could learn many valuable lessons from this man. Despite Jay-Z’s overwhelming amount of wealth he has accumulated, he is still able to connected with those who are living paycheck to paycheck. And the reason Jay-Z “can openly celebrate his talent and wealth” is because he still makes sure his connection to those who are still running the streets he grew up on, and those who are still living day to day. He does this by reminding those people that he was once in their shoes and he has put in the work to get where he is today. He also gives them hope by saying that everyone is born with a gift that can take them places, they just have to have the desire and have to put in the work to use that gift.
Jay-Z says that everyone has a gift that they can use to make something of themselves, and I agree with that, partially. I think that everyone has something they’re good at, and they can use that talent to do something with their lives and become a success. But I believe that some gifts have more potential than others. For instance: If a person is given the gift of being an excellent auto mechanic, one of the career paths that would probably maximize their gift would be to become part of a pit crew for a NASCAR driver, and that would definitely have its perks! But if salary is being the main consideration, then this is most likely not the top career path. Now lets look at someone who has the gift of being an extraordinary athlete. This person could maximize their gift by entering into one of many different professional sports leagues around the world, where they get more than generously paid as well as receiving lots of publicity leading to endorsement deals and many more opportunities. So I agree with Jay-Z that everyone has a gift to excel in something, but I think that some gifts have more potential than others.
Samuels says that President Obama could learn many lessons from Jay-z, but most importantly how to gain the loyalty of those citizens in America who are having financial difficulties, who don’t immediately trust those who are wealthy. Samuel’s shows that Jay-Z has done a spectacular job of using the struggles he has gone through to show to fans that he has common grounds with them. Obama has gone through struggles in his life too, while maybe not as horrific as what some people has gone through, he did grow up in middle class America and he didn’t know his father, to name a few. And if Barrack marketed that a little more, it may be easier for people to feel they can relate to him therefor gaining him more of a following.
As a little kid I was really into and played sports, still do. So when I was looking for someone to look up to when I was a kid, I looked to the sports world. I soon found someone I felt I could relate to in Kurt Warner. At the time Kurt was a Super Bowl winning quarterback for my favorite NFL football team, the St. Louis Rams. But what really intrigued me about Kurt was that he was an Iowa man, born in Burlington (30 minutes from my house), claimed Cedar Rapids (60 minutes from my house), went to the University of Northern Iowa, and even worked at Hy-Vee during a slump in his football career before exploding on the NFL scene by winning the MVP award and a super bowl. So since Warner had come from a place so relatable to my own and yet had still achieved greatness, I viewed him as someone I could really look up to and admire.


1. Jay-Z claims his talent and wealth so openly because he rightly earned it. He was born with his musical abilities and was willing to put in the effort to completely achieve success with his talent. According to Jay-Z, everyone is born with a “ Genius-level talent” but he is one of the few that is willing to put in the effort to strive for success with this talent.

2. I do not necessarily agree with Jay-Z’s statement everyone is born with a “ Genius- level talent”. Many people work their entire lives for a dream and never succeed. Jay-Z’s statement is extremely powerful and hopeful for most, but can be disrespectful to some. Going along with the theme everyone has some kind of god given talent I would say my strongest attribute is my social skills. I am a very outgoing person but it is a skill that can definitely be developed through more networking and attending social events.

3. In the post, Samuel argues that Jay-Z does an outstanding job of filling the breach between the lower class and the wealthy class. He gives America the hope that they are capable of doing whatever it is they want to do. I completely agree with Samuels in that this is exactly the kind of message our president should portray. With the economy America is facing, this is exactly what we need to hear.

4. Oprah Winfrey is the most iconic woman whose story has inspired millions. Going through hell and back she was still able to beat the odds and become the most well -known talk show hosts of the 21st century. Oprah has inspired me to push through any obstacles that may stand in my way to achieve my dreams.
Oprah faced a horrible childhood filled with abuse, neglect, and instability. The likelihood of her growing up to be a role model for so many people seemed impossible. Somehow, Oprah was able to get through every negative thing that was thrown at her along the way. She became president of her high school class, graduated from college, and worked her way to the top. Although I wasn’t born into a poverty-stricken home, or was abused as a child, it can still be hard to fight for what I want. I can’t imagine living the kind of life Oprah did, but knowing she was able to fight through it all and accomplish her dreams helps reinforce Jay-z’s idea of “ Genius- level talent”. We all have it, it is just a matter of putting it to use.
Oprah Winfrey’s story is so astonishing yet so incredibly inspiring. It is hard to compare my wonderful childhood to one filled with so much darkness. But, if Oprah Winfrey was capable of getting through such a horrible time, it gives me the hope that anything is possible.

"Oprah Winfrey Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013.

Cameron Thompson

I chose to read this article because I am truly interested in hip-hop and rap music, however being such a fan means I have a bias opinion towards Jay-Z. I do not like him, as a rapper and more importantly as a person, although some people might question my feelings towards such a famous millionaire for a lack of knowing him, or for an envy of him, I can assure you those are not my reasons. (1) According to Samuels Jay-Z can openly celebrate his talent and wealth because he has a fantastic underdog story in which he journeys from the projects of potentially one of the worst neighborhoods in America to the American dream in the biggest city in America, New York City. I don’t disagree with Samuels, that Jay-Z does hold just about every right to gloat his success, but from my point of view, I believe that Jay-Z might have let all of his success get to his head and in that possibly forgot his past and where he came from, in his rhymes. (2) Jay-Z really got me on this next one, where he claims that all people are born with “genius-level talent” and it is up to them to find and develop this talent. I disagree completely and for several reasons, first, if this is actually true and I am too blind to see it or even just too young, just because someone has a talent doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth anything, so developing a talent that can get you nowhere in todays society seems worthless in my eyes. Conveniently his ability to entertain and rhyme holds a value in 2013, good thing for him he wasn’t born in the 1800’s because I don’t think anyone cared for his type of music then. Next, there are also a number of people born into the world mentally handicapped, and I know it would be unfair for me to say that they don’t have any talents, but I think it is appropriate to say that they don’t have a talent great enough to make them 80 million dollars a year. Lastly, to address my talent I would like to think that if I did have a 80 million dollar gift it would be my creativity, however I tend to doubt that it could really ever be enough to put me on a stage in front of thousands of fans, but who knows, only time, and an effort to expand my mind will tell. (3) The next question addresses the capability of Jay-Z being able to reach out to the lower class of people better than Obama. With this I also disagree, because obviously Jay-Z can relate to the lower class of people better than Obama, Jay-Z came from the lower class of America, not Obama. Does this mean Obama should start taking up rapping in order to relate better? I think not, for the obvious reason that Obama is should be spending his time with more important affairs, and simply being able to bridge out to the lower class is not going to fix our economy, illegal immigration, or help lower taxes. And with the new Medicare that has been put into effect last term, I believe he is doing a fine job on reaching out to the lower class. (4) I think it’s hard to be truly inspired by an actor or artist, although I have several I would love to be like, I don’t really know any of them, so how do I know that I really want to be like them. Who they are in a movie or walking down the red carpet, or what they say in a song always sounds and looks good, but is it even really them behind closed doors or are they someone completely different? With that said I have to say someone who truly inspired me is Nas or Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones for long. This is also a rapper, and whom I believe to be the best to ever live, he is still alive, and also the nemesis of Jay-Z in the rap game, hints my distaste for Jay-Z. I am not just saying this all just to pick the opposing side of this article; I picked this article because I knew I would have a lot to say about it. Aspiring to be someone in my eyes is one of the greatest complements. Nas has done a lot to influence my life, and it seems every time I listen to one of his songs he is directing it at me, and I always have something to take away from his raps. I feel smarter every time I listen to a new Nas song, which I’m sure to most people sounds pretty crazy, considering the amount of people that think rap music sounds like junk, but I think its different for me and some others. It’s like he’s there for me, helping me through my hard times and helping to enhance my good ones, I would even consider him a friend, even though I’ve never even met the guy. But I don’t want to be a rapper or even make music I only aspire to do the same thing for others, more than just help them I want to be their friend.

Molly Isebrands

1. According to the article “What Obama Can Learn From Jay-Z”, by David Samuels, the “real reason” why Jay-Z can celebrate his talent and wealth is because he didn’t just inherit his money. Jay-Z wasn’t handed everything in life. He worked from the very bottom to get to where he is today. He figured out his talent and used to his advantage. He found something that he loved to do and worked through every struggle and hit many bumps on the road to fame and wealth, but that is the exact reason why he gets to express his talent and wealth. As Samuels states throughout the article he went from rags to riches. His story is what the American Dream is defined as in our country.
2. I agree with Jay-Z’s idea that everyone is born with a certain talent and it is our job to identify what that talent is during our lifetime. I agree with him because many of us work hard everyday and go to school for many many years and we finally find out what we really want to do, or what we are meant to do. I believe that not all of our talents have to do with singing, dancing, or acting etc. Not everyone’s talent will get him or her to be as wealthy as Jay-Z, but many of our talents can take us a long way in a good career that will make us happy everyday. I believe that I have a talent somewhere deep down, but I am still on my journey to figuring out what it is. To help myself develop my own talent I take classes that I enjoy and am interested in. I also try new things to maybe find a hidden talent for something I would have never found without doing so.
3. I think in the article, Samuels was trying to point out how President Obama can learn from Jay-Z that he earned his power and wealth in a rightful way. Jay-Z also tries to give out hope and motivate everyone, even the lower class that they can to achieve something great if they want it and work hard for it. I agree that Obama can learn from Jay-Z because he can show how he earned his spot as president and help motivate our country to get up and work for not only each other but ourselves also.
4. Even before reading this article I felt that Jay-Z was inspiring to many others and I because of his life achievements. Other celebrities that have influenced my life include, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Audrey Hepburn, and Beyoncé etc. These women are all different in many ways, but they also all have their own story and their own struggles. Each of these women influence me to be a better person, to act as a lady, to help out others, and to be myself in every way that I can. In the book “How to be Lovely: the Audrey Hepburn way of Life", by Melissa Hellstern really expresses how she really believed in herself and being happy was all that really mattered. This book inspired me because it talked about all of Audrey's different roles in life being a mother, model, actress and how she figured out what was most important. Even though I have never met any of the ladies listed above I still have seen them on TV, read their books, and watched them do what they do best all while giving advice about life and this influences me in a positive way.

Hellstern, Melissa. N.p.: Dutton Adult, 2004. Print.

Joanna Quintanilla

1. According to Samuels the real reason that Jay-Z “can so openly celebrate his talent and wealth” is that his rags-to-riches story is an incarnation of the American Dream.
2. I agree that everyone may be born with “genius-level talent” and it is that person’s responsibility to develop their talent; but whether that talent can gain you the American Dream is something different. I don’t think I’ve figured out my talent yet, but I think that’s normal; people figure out there talents at different times in their lives and can become “successful” at any age.
3. Samuels argues that President Obama can learn how to better relate with the American public as Jay-Z does and to show himself as achieving the American Dream in a mainly white-privileged country.

David Ball

This was a very interesting article. I was surprised to learn about the level of involvement Jay-Z, as well as Bruce Springsteen, had with the support of president Obama’s campaign. But getting to the point, this article encompassed a vast amount of insightful opinions of what the modern “American Dream” entails. Samuels did a brilliant job of using Jay-Z’s “rags to riches” story as a prime example for supporting the idea that in America, if you work hard enough, and you are determined to succeed, you can achieve your dreams. In the article, Samuels talks about how Jay-Z said to a crowd of fans that everyone is born with, “genius-level talent,” and that it is their responsibility to put that talent into action. I absolutely agree with that statement. I believe that every person has something that they strive in, and if they put their full commitment and determination into that skill, getting the well-paying career that everyone wants while also being happy is easy to achieve. In American society, unlike many others in the world, we really do have the opportunity to come from any socio-economic background and become successful. But that is only if you work hard, of course. I was also very intrigued by the means in which the author of the article turned the view of the diamond-studded watches and gold chains obtained by Jay-Z from meaningless commodities used to flaunt his wealth, into symbols commemorating his struggle of growing up as a poor African-American boy living in the slums of Brooklyn, following his dreams, resulting in him becoming one of the most wealthy, well known hip-hop artists of all time. No doubt, the fact that Jay-Z makes a stunning $80 million a year may lead people to believe that maybe the only reason he is so happy is because he is rich. But, think about it; being able to pull himself out of a situation that may seem inescapable to some by music that he creates, and becoming a person that can provide stability for himself as well as his family must be an incredibly rewarding feeling. Try to tell me I’m wrong. So to all of you kids out there that wanted or still want to be astronauts or scientists, rock stars or dare-devils, know that the power and responsibility of becoming those things lies in your hands and no one elses.


I found this article to be quite interesting. The author’s opinion that Obama can learn about harmonizing the American people through Jay-Z’s example caught me by surprise. I previously never related Jay-Z, or any other hip-hop artist, to having political influence. I never considered what Jay-Z’s appeal had been throughout his career, but the ideas the author offers from Jay-Z’s track “Hard Knock Life” and how it appealed not only to blacks, but white youths and fans of “Annie” does seem plausible. For Jay-Z to come from the projects and lead an exceedingly successful life is incredible. Jay-Z emphasizes the message that not only is his achievements incredible, but that they are possible for those who put in the effort to attain success. The author rephrases a saying of Jay-Z’s as, “While everyone is born equal, the results of human endeavor can and should therefore lead to unequal rewards” which matches one of the broadest definitions of the American Dream.


1) What, according to Samuels, is the “real reason” that Jay-Z “can so openly celebrate his talent and wealth”?

There are two reasons for this. One is that he feels that he has rightfully earned his wealth. He claims that everyone was born with “genius-level talent,” and the difference between him and those who have less than he does is that he's worked harder to earn what he has.
The other reason is that his autobiographical lyrics bridge the gap between him and his audience. His rags-to-riches commentary shows that he's struggled as much as they have and that he is “one of them.”

Gloria Gutierrez

While reading “What Obama Can Learn from Jay-Z,” I was actually surprised at the amount of involvement Jay-Z had in the Presidential campaign or any type of political matters. Although I am not a fan of Jay-Z or his music, I feel inspired by this article, not only because it is based on the rapper’s rag to riches story, but because Jay-Z truly believes in all people are equal and gifted. With his lavish lifestyle put into rhymes but somehow keeps the connection to his roots, he wants to show his audience that hard work does pay off and there are rewards that come with it. What David Samuals does not emphasize is that although Jay-Z may constantly remind his audience that he is no better than they are, there is a separation between him and some of his audience and that is the work put in for his rewards and lavish lifestyle. With Jay-Z being able to share his story with his audience, he causes them to be vulnerable and feel connected with him on a personal level. Which can so obviously be used as a marketing tool, in this case, the rapper’s story can be used for that and as an inspiration for others whether that had been his motive or not. We are all ruled by our economy and with this going against the masses, it is tough to emphasize and develop our talents to the fullest such as he did. Realistically, not everyone has the opportunity as he did or can make the connection to his fellow humanity and inspire one another in a positive way. This is not something that only President Obama should take a lesson from but all people can learn from. Connecting, relating, and inspiring one another instead of doing the opposite can give a better understanding of each other and the world around, and cause for a better society.

Davian Harry

While reading this essay, I was interested that Jay-Z was more politically active than I initially believed. Instead of treating Jay-Z like most other rappers that are on the radio, Samuels shows to the readers that Jay-Z is the very icon of the American Dream, in which most people thought died out during the era of the Great Depression. Jay- Z constantly reminds people about his own rags to riches story, flaunting his wealth to the masses, not to be a show-off, but to be able to connect to the audience, giving them an image, a hope that there is someone out there that came out from a place just as bad as them, and still was able to make it out on top. The connection that he tries to build to the audience is something that I can see that Obama can take from. While Obama himself may not have a rags to riches tale to tell like Jay-Z, the constant connection to the people is what most people look for when it comes time to vote for the president. If Obama can learn to adapt to the people, the American Dream can be revived to the masses.

Davian Harry

(adding on to my ideas)
While reading this essay, I was interested that Jay-Z was more politically active than I initially believed. Instead of treating Jay-Z like most other rappers that are on the radio, Samuels shows to the readers that Jay-Z is the very icon of the American Dream, in which most people thought died out during the era of the Great Depression. Jay- Z constantly reminds people about his own rags to riches story, flaunting his wealth to the masses, not to be a show-off, but to be able to connect to the audience, giving them an image, a hope that there is someone out there that came out from a place just as bad as them, and still was able to make it out on top. Jay-Z shows us that it is ok for us to be confident about our abilities, for it is our ability that makes us who we are. For example, I am personally very good with math and physics, but originally, I thought that outside that region of science that my abilities are pretty worthless. Now, I believe that as long as the will is there, one can turn talent into a symbol of the American Dream, a symbol in which the people need. The connection that he tries to build to the audience is something that I can see that Obama can take from. While Obama himself may not have rags to riches tale to tell like Jay-Z, the constant connection to the people is what most people look for when it comes time to vote for the president. Connect to the people, and you just might be able to change the thinking of America. If Obama can learn to adapt to the people, allow them to see that their hopes and dreams can be realized, instead of just being replayed in their imagination, the American Dream can be revived to the masses.

Olexiy Kryvych

In his article, David Samuels compares the rapper Jay-Z and the President Barrack Obama. In the first few paragraphs he explains that Jay-Z played an important role in Obama’s reelection in 2012, and later going into the rappers rise to success with the idea that the President can learn a few things from Jay-Z. Honestly, I feel like the idea of the article is not to compare the two great individuals, but to reintroduce the concept of the American dream, hard work, and putting your individual abilities to use in order to succeeded in life. Jay-Z and Barrack Obama are two different individuals that succeed in life due to their own discoveries, and both of them can learn from each other. There is no guarantied, perfect way to becoming successful. With that being said, I still agree on the points that Samuels makes. During his discussion about Jay-Z’s ability to connect to audience, Samuels explains that the rapper accomplishes it due to his marketing skills, and his life story, which is pretty much American Dream. Some people might challenge this view by saying that everyone has different dreams, and all of Jay-Z’s success is only due to well thought out managing team, but later in his article Samuels proves that Jay-Z’s wealth is rightfully earned. Samuels quotes the rapper during his show in Barclays Center, “I ain’t no mutherfuckin’ different from anybody here tonight, and I’m standing on this stage.” Later Samuels mentioned that during Jay-Z’s show the rapper said that everyone is born with individual talent and it is our job to find it and expand on it, which rapper has been doing for a long time.
Overall, Obama and Jay-Z are not that different. They are both geniuses at what they do and both of them obviously found their talent and worked on it.

in response to Michele Tran: I'm in two minds about your idea. Even though I agree that Obama can learn from Jay-Z, and should emphasize the importance of hard work and emotional honesty, I also think that it is everyone's job to do so, and Obama is already leading by example.

Eric Anaya

David Samuels article “What Obama Can Learn From Jay-Z” seemed more like a fan admiring his favorite musical artist than a political piece about how to solve our country’s serious economic problems. Samuels just goes on to state who Jay-Z is and what he has done with his money. He claims president Obama can learn much from Jay-Z about connecting the people of this nation who come from different economic backgrounds. However Samuels fails to state exactly what Jay-Z has done to help the people who are suffering through harsh economic times instead of rapping about how rich he is. Yes, Jay-Z was poor once but that was a very long time ago, so long that it should not even be relevant anymore. Samuels believes Jay-Z has stayed connected with many people from our nation from the poor to the rich since he was once poor and is now very successful. I disagree all Jay-Z ever does is rap in his music about how rich he is and tries so hard in every other sentence in his songs to continuously remind us that he was once poor “just like us.” This is insulting Jay-Z clearly is not the poor kid from Brooklyn anymore he clearly just tries to sell this to the audience to sell more albums. Samuels tries to justify Jay-Z’s influence by saying that he is a constant reminder to the people that the “American dream” is still alive. Nothing can be farther from the truth. This may have been a true statement decades ago, but sadly that is not the case anymore. The United States has one of the largest economic inequalities among it’s people compared to other post-industrialized countries around the world. It does not stop there the inequality continues to grow as the few wealthy continue to gain all the benefits and advantages of society as the majority of the American people continue to struggle making ends meet. Our public school systems are failing our children, our wealth distribution is unequal, and the rich continue to influence politics in their favor. Jay-Z has the nerve to criticize people for not being as successful as he is. You were a poor drug dealer and attempted murderer who rhymed some words together to beats you did not make and were thrown millions of dollars for it. That is not a success story a success story is the black boy living in poverty with a single mom graduating college in the field he loves against all odds without breaking any laws or hurting anyone.


the reason can celebrate his wealth so openly is because he started out with nothing and worked his way to the top

Bader Alazmi

Jonathan, yes, he sure did, but do you think that he is a suitable person to be associated with the American Presidency? And I think Eric is right on when he states that Samuels sounds like a fan admiring Jay-Z's work and music. I am not certain that Samuels has taken into consideration that a lot of scrutiny has surrounded Jay-Z and his lifestyle.

Janet M

I did not know Jay-Z how politically involved he was. That was very interesting to me. Jay-Z and Obama had something in common. They grew up with nothing and they worked hard to become something. I commend the both of them.

Janet M

Bader, I believe it all boils down to the new generation of people. Jay-Z is a well-known rapper, and he also has money. You do not want someone from the 1980's, you want someone new. Not a lot of people know such about the presidency(Especially 18+ people) and then say see Jay-Z and that is it!


i feel like to become a well-known rapper you have to have alot of luck on your side. meeting the right producer, having the right person make your beats, managers giving you a chance to play at there clubs. You don't get into Stanford with luck you work hard your entire life Comparing a president to a rapper i think is just silly. I do agree though when jay z says that everybody has their own stardom in themselves its just if you choose to pursue it or not


Samuels seems to think that obama can learn things from jay z i don't see how. Should he shoot a music video on air force one and show all the great golf shots he hits ? Its comparing music to politics and in my opinion they shouldn't even be in the same sentence together. Jay z messes up and he doesn't sell 100 million copies of his cd, obama messes up and it costs this country millions and millions of jobs.

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