Taking Rap Lyrics Too Seriously, Part 1

Man shall not live by bread alone

Matthew 4:4

Likewise, Northern Reaction shall not live on Right Wing Canadiana and Memeology alone. So, to show I have no idea how to appeal to an audience, I present a new series: Taking Rap Lyrics Too Seriously. Wherein I will actually answer the nonsensical questions and respond to the nonsensical statements made in rap songs.

The first lyric comes from the song Niggas in Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West.

The Lyrics to be taken too seriously

Near the beginning of the song, Jay-Z asks:

What’s fifty grand to a motherfucker like me, can you please remind me?


I’m pretty sure anyone in those glasses can figure it out for themselves.

Yes Mr. Z. Yes I can remind you.

The Set-up

To keep things consistent, almost all the stats used here come from Forbes. That way the data collection methodology shouldn’t skew any of the results one way or another.

The data, where available, comes originally from official government sources in 2011. That’s the year the song came out, and I assume that’s the year Jay-Z was interested in when he asked the question. However, Mr. Hova, if you are reading this and had another year in mind, please contact me and I will update the article accordingly.

Finally, instead of using averages, I will be using medians, just in case the groups in question are either top-heavy (think 1%ers) or bottom-heavy (massive credit card debt, etc.)

The Math

To calculate what “50 grand” is to a “motherfucker” like Jay-Z, we need to know a few things. First, how much is Jay-Z worth?

According to Forbes, in 2011, Jay-Z was the second richest rapper alive after Diddy, with a net worth of $450,000,000. That’s a lot of money.


The physician known as “Dre” came in third. Sad, because he’s got those medical school debts to pay off.

With that figure in mind, “50 grand” would be 1/9000 of Jay-Z’s total net worth.

Next, we need something to compare it to.

The median income in America in 2011 was $52,000. If we take that number and divide it by 9000, we get 5.7777…

So, fifty grand to Jay-Z is the equivalent of $5.78 to the median American.

But we can go deeper.

Jay-Z is black.


I was surprised too.

The median net worth of black Americans and white Americans is very different, for a variety of reasons.

The median net worth of a white American was $111,000 in 2011. Doing the same calculation as before, fifty grand to Jay-Z is like $12.30 to the median white American.

The median net woth of black Americans in 2011 was just $9000. See above for some of the reasons why. Using the math one more time, fifty grand to Jay-Z is like $1 to the median black American.


Mr. Jigga, you asked us to remind you what fifty grand was to a motherfucker like you.

Every time you buy an 18k gold men’s Rolex watch, that’s like the median American buying a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Every time you buy a brand new Audi A5 with a sunroof, that’s like the median white American buying a ticket to see a movie. And every time you buy a new yacht, that’s the equivalent of the median black American buying a can of soup.

So there you have it. To a motherfucker like you, fifty grand is not a lot.


Well you don’t have to rub it in

One thought on “Taking Rap Lyrics Too Seriously, Part 1

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