“I’ll write a check to the IRS, my pockets get slim
Damn, do I even have a say ‘bout where it’s goin’?
Some older nigga told me to start votin’
I said “Democracy is too fuckin’ slow”
If I’m givin’ y’all this hard-earned bread, I wanna know
Better yet, let me decide, bitch, it’s 2018
Let me pick the things I’m funding from an app on my screen.” — J. Cole

Just like most forms of art (i.e. movies), Hip-Hop should drive a discussion. That’s the true power of it. Case in point, just listen to J Cole’s song Brackets from his latest project KOD. He touches on taxes, which is a highly important topic in this country. Because for the millions upon millions paying taxes into a system, yet seeing less in return for it on a year to year basis, sounds like a scam but that’s democracy for you. Unless you’re well organized and use that as leverage, you won’t get much of your money’s worth in return.

For what it’s worth though.

I understand what America was envisioned itself to be. The land of free I’m told. A government of the people, by the people and for the people. Those same people pour their life’s blood in money to support this system, which one can very well call an empire run not by the people as so designed but by those with deep enough pockets and influence to push their interests. And the funny thing about it is this system only survives and can carry on this way because of the full faith and credit we the people have in it. Add to the fact that so many departments and agencies exist with budgets (from tax dollars) that fund projects, enforce regulations, research, initiatives and other programs that the average person wouldn’t have the time or patience to even map out its usefulness. Think about it.

There’s about a handful of programs (and other areas tax dollars go to) I can imagine that are generally useful, where others are wasteful uses of money and it keeps happening, further proving how reckless things are. When I listened to J. Cole on Brackets, I sense where he was coming from. He wanted to know where all this money made is going and why can’t the spending of it be decided by those who put in? This where being well-organized across the country plays best.

But as I say all this, I’m not J. Cole rich rich, but I understand his plight. You come from a country that prides itself on being great but moves slow to fix its domestic issues and twice as fast to fix foreign ones, further depleting resources that could be used for other things that people who fund the government could benefit from. All the agencies and departments with their programs and regulations, are all of them a matter of necessity? Because when you’re at a trillion dollars in debt and spending more money than you bring in from taxes then who eventually shoulders that burden if something were to occur? Is it us? I think so. This is why I think J. Cole needed to make Brackets.

Sure, it might get swept under the rug along with the rest overtime cause there has been a damn good job at removing the citizen as far as possible from the system. But damn man, at least somebody talking about something that actually is about a topic that directly and indirectly affects people, but the more people start and continue to press the issue the better. Because what’s the point of songs if they don’t communicate something of value to the millions of ear lobes they capture? Doesn’t always have to but surely it should more often. Wishful thinking.

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