“So with or without any of your involvement/We coming for all of this, respect my conglomerate/I went from pauper to the President/Every deal I ever made set precedent” - Jay Z on “So Ambitious” (2009)

The American Dream. Is it alive? Is it dead? Did it ever exist at all? It has been a topic of debate between the disenfranchised 99% and the top 1 percent ever since the economy went belly-up in 2008. Fallacy or not, there are few things America loves more than an underdog who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps; who thrived in our bountiful country against all odds.

Enter, Jigga. The quintessential rags-to-riches story. The hero in the American Dream. Jay Z’s unlikely rise to fame and fortune is well documented, his history a part of the zeitgeist. Who hasn’t heard the story of the hardscrabble kid from Marcy Projects who created his own label when the big shops told him no; who went from street corner to corner office, from small-time hustler to business mogul with nothing but determination, persistence, and pure, blind faith?

It’s so good, you couldn’t write it. It’s exactly what this great nation is supposed to be about: opportunity. The opportunity to tap into your talent, share it with the world, and hopefully become rich in the process. Very rich. Still, we can’t ignore the elephants in the room. The mere fact of Jay’s humble beginnings would give opponents plenty of ammunition for his destruction; the references to dope dealing and purse snatching in his music, the alleged stabbing of Un Rivera. Then again, history has shown the American people to be forgiving, especially when it comes to our mainstream talents.