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Jay Z Calls War on Drugs an ‘Epic Fail’ in New York Times Op-Ed (Video)

Shawn Carter lends his voice to Molly Crabapple’s artwork to illustrate a point

Jay Z has called America’s War on Drugs an “epic fail” in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday. The rapper — real name Shawn Carter — also provided the voiceover in a video illustrated by artist Molly Crabapple.

In the video, which is posted above, Carter points out certain hypocrisies he’s observed from both his youth and present day. He begins in 1986, when Ronald Reagan took Richard Nixon’s anti-narcotics baton and ran with it. Those were the rapper’s coming of age days, when he admits to selling drugs in and around the Marcy Project.

Jay Z goes on to point out the chemical similarities between cocaine and crack cocaine, but noted how incarceration rates didn’t have the same consistency. Basically, cocaine was for rich white people, while crack cocaine was used by minorities in the hood. Hence the difference in penalties, Carter said.

In the emcee’s mind, nothing’s really changed — even as marijuana begins to become legalized in certain states. He sees dispensaries backed by investment bankers making money while those with previous drug convictions iced out of the suddenly A-OK game.

“Rates of drug use are as high as they were when Nixon declared the so-called ‘war’ in 1971,” Jay Z concluded. “Forty-five years later, it’s time to rethink out policies and laws. The War on Drugs is an epic fail.”

Watch the video above.