Music Video Analysis: 99 Problems

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About the Music Video
Both Jay-Z’s third single album “99 Problems” and its corresponding music video were released in 2004. Although Jay-Z is known today as a famous rapper and a producer of Roc-A-Fella record label, he did not start off with the most fortunate setting. The music video portrays the ghetto of Brooklyn, New York in the 1990s and illustrates the struggles that Jay-Z had to go through during his career in order to reach the top of the music industry. This hip-hop music video won “three MVPA awards in 2005, MTV Video Music Awards, Video of the Year, and the Best Male Video” (Wikipedia). 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 or 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 Kat Klub”, located in Times Square of New York City, Jay-Z “was accused of stabbing record executive Lance ‘Un’ Rivera for Rivera’s bootlegging of Jay-Z’s third record ‘Life and Times of S. Carter’” (Wikipedia, 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 of a million dollars for what he had done. Although he...
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