While Jay-Z acknowledged on the Van Jones Show that black unemployment had reached a new low under the Trump administration, there were more factors to the issue. “Money doesn’t equate to happiness,” Jay-Z told Jones. “That’s missing the whole point.”
Trump responded the next morning with a tweet that only focused on the numbers and not, as Jay-Z said, the quality of life attached to them. “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED,” Trump wrote.
On the Grammys red carpet outside Madison Square Garden, Rolling Stone asked rappers like Ice-T, Run the Jewels, Lil Uzi Vert and Logic to weigh in on Jay-Z’s comments and the Trump tweet. “Jay Z retains ‘Coolest Rapper in the World,’ ever. He can draw a response out of Trump,” Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike told Rolling Stone.
Run the Jewels’ El-P: “In this demented, alternate reality that we’re living in, you can only look at that at this point as entertaining… The idea of our president trying to turn what should be positive statistics into a weapon against those very people that he is supposedly representing is incredibly insulting for anybody with intellect.”
Killer Mike: “Our president made quick to jump to conclusions. We could really go listen to what Jay said again and maybe we’ll learn to table some stuff, really discuss and solve some problems instead of waking up the next morning and see our president in a virtual fight with the coolest rapper… And you know what? I’m sure some action he has done has created some jobs within the African-American community, but with that said, you’re the president and that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Let’s figure out how to avert war. Let’s figure out how to eliminate homelessness on the poverty level. Let’s figure out how to end prohibition. Let’s figure out something really significant to do besides, you just creating jobs. Because that’s your freakin’ job to do, and that’s why we hired you… What Jay was saying was, let’s stop and take time to teach the lesson and learn.”
Ice-T: “I think it just added to the stupid shit [Trump] does. Like, why are you talking to Jay-Z? You’re the President. I don’t get it. I don’t get him. Very petty… Fuck it. Trump’s a fucking idiot. He’s an idiot. It’s redundant to speak on it. I think he’s shown who he is, he’s not a distinguished president. Not a president that when he speaks, we all stop to listen. Now he’s just tweeting like a madman. It doesn’t make any sense. Somebody needs to take that phone.”
Lil Uzi Vert: “I think it’s crazy that [Trump’s] taking credit for [the unemployment rates] to begin with. I think that goes back to Obama. I think it’s crazy that he gets so hurt by someone like Jay-Z who all he was saying last night on CNN was that people need to be treated like human beings.”
Rapsody: “I saw Jay’s interview and what I did see is not just about money. You can’t put a Band-Aid on a problem and think that that’s just going to heal it… [Trump made] an empty tweet. And that’s not to say what Obama started didn’t encourage that. [Trump] just fell into good things, so I don’t pay him any mind.”
Logic [Speaking to media]: “A lot of people have had an effect on the President like [Jay-Z] and it’s just the way those things work. If [Trump] doesn’t agree with somebody, he says what he says and that’s cool, but we know the truth.”
Jay-Z himself did not comment on Trump’s tweet at the 2018 Grammys.
Additional reporting by Kory Grow