It was recently announced that JAY-Z topped Forbes’ 2018 list of Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists with $900 million. Sean “Diddy” Combs, meanwhile, came in at No. 2 and is said to be worth a cool $825 million.
But in an interview with Hip-HopDX, Chuck D from the legendary group Public Enemy, said Jay and Diddy should be using their riches to help those in hip-hop who need it, like other artists who may be struggling. Chuck also said he didn’t care for both moguls having a back-and-forth about who would top the Forbes list, although there isn’t proof that such a conversation took place.
“As a structured organization, I wish the money was distributed to more people better,” he said. “To see Jay-Z and Puffy have a playful argument about who’s going to be the top of Forbes, I look at my peer group and they’re just trying to get by. Look at a guy like Masta Ace who’s just trying to continue his art and feed his family. I just wish the distribution is a little less painful.”
The “Bring Da Noise” writer also said he does a lot of things for free and his motivation to create positive change isn’t fueled by dollars. In addition, he said that Jay and Puff should be employing others in hip-hop since they’re so well-off.
“It could be a lot more fair across the board,” he explained. “It’s the lack of administration. I was talking to [DJ] Premier, I said ‘I do so much of this and it’s not based on money.’ Yeah, I go out with Prophets Of Rage, and our job is to do our thing, but everything else I do is painfully for free. Jay-Z and Puffy arguing about who has most money, something’s wrong with that. How many jobs have you created? Who are you paying and what are you doing for it? It all came out from the sacrifices we made for you.”
Chuck’s opinion of Jay and Diddy comes at a time when some might say they’ve made recent efforts to empower Black folks and teach them about entrepreneurship, as well as financial responsibility.
Jigga, for example, spoke heavily about investing and creating Black wealth on his “4:44” album and Puff is in the throes of developing an app that’ll help people find where Black-owned businesses are located.
There’s also no telling how many people the Brooklyn rapper and Bad Boy founder actually employ, but it sounds like Chuck wants some of those dollars to be kicked back to rappers who are more blue-collar, like Masta Ace.
At this time, neither Diddy or Jay have responded to Chuck’s comment.