The rapper delivers a concise history of American drug policy against striking visuals.

By Hayden Wright

As a former drug dealer made good, Jay Z has seen the war on drugs firsthand. He’s a rare example of an inner-city kid who rose above draconian drug policies to achieve multimillion-dollar success.

Related: Jay Z Runs Interference on Crazed Beyoncé Fan

Now, Jay is using his platform to educate folks about how decades of drug legislation have boosted incarceration rates and created an uneven racial and socioeconomic playing field. He narrates a video, hosted by The New York Times, that features sketches by artist Molly Crabapple.

As November approaches, some states will consider ballot measures legalizing marijuana—Jay highlights that in states where the sale of pot is legal, venture capitalists have cornered the market. In others, participants in the underground pot economy may receive life sentences. The clip urges viewers to consider how politics and cultural attitudes have shaped and transformed the lives of kids like him.

Watch the video here:


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