On Letterman, Rapper 'Jay-Z' Blames 'Reaganomics' and 'Iran-Contra' for Drugs in Cities in 1980s

Seeming to resurrect a favorite paranoid conspiracy of the 1980s, Shawn Carter, who goes by the stage name “Jay-Z” and is out with an autobiography, Decoded, about the origins of rap music, suggested on Tuesday's Late Show that “Reaganomics” and “Iran-Contra” put crack into urban neighborhoods.

Discussing the gun violence and drugs in Brooklyn in the 1980s when rap music was created, David Letterman wondered: “Was it crack, the number one street drug?” Carter/Jay-Z answered:

During that time, you know, all joking aside, you know, this whole Reaganomics, Iran-Contra, you know, all the drugs that influenced, I mean infiltrated our neighborhoods and was everywhere like you could smell the stench in the hallways. You know, it was just, we were overcome with this thing and it was fast money and, you know, it's inescapable.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center