A Case for Why Jay-Z Should Forget About the NFL and Just Buy a Popeyes Franchise

Graphic: Elena Scotti (Getty Images, Shutterstock)

Of the myriad possible metaphors for the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich craze of 2019—which is a thing I will tell my kids about when they ask how America voted for Donald Trump—my favorite is that the sandwich itself represents heaven. The line to wait for the sandwich? That’s life on Earth. Those who get their sandwiches immediately? The righteous. Those who, after buying the sandwich, have to wait in a separate line for the order to be ready? That’s purgatory. And the unfortunates who wait in line but learn that there are no more sandwiches? Well, I hope they packed some light clothing.

The theory has holes, sure. Because what about the people in line who just want chicken tenders or some shrimps? Are they agnostics? Atheists? Kappas? And if the sandwich is heaven, is Popeyes God? (Or is God the Louisiana Kitchen? The fry cook?) And where does Chick-fil-A fit? It is just a place that heathens believe is heaven, but it’s really just Arkansas? (Probably.)

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I don’t know. I do know that since eating and writing about the sandwich two weeks ago, my stomach hasn’t been right since. I thought maybe I needed to drink some Prepopik. But now I think I just need to go to church.

Anyway, the Popeyes chicken sandwich craze—and subsequent fast-food chicken sandwich war—has been a nice palate cleanser to the increasingly bizarre conversations about Jay-Z’s relationship to the NFL. Feelings about the league and Colin Kaepernick and capitalism notwithstanding, I had no idea so many people sincerely believe that Jay is either their God or their dad. I mean, The Blueprint was a great album; one that I still bang today. “The Ruler’s Back” is what I hum to myself each time I go to Whole Foods. It was, dare I say it, the Popeyes chicken sandwich of rap albums. But it wasn’t great enough for some of y’all to take that J-HOVA thing literally.

Unfortunately, the Hovteps’ dream of their dad owning an NFL team will have to wait, as it’s been reported that the rumors of him soon owning a share of a franchise were false. It still might happen one day. But that day won’t be tomorrow.

Thing is, I actually don’t think this is terrible news. Because now he can set his sights on something smaller. Something without the same pervasive mess engulfing it. Something bringing CTE-less joy to millions each Sunday. Jay-Z should buy a Popeyes franchise.

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OK, OK, OK, OK. I know what you’re thinking. This could never work because the Carters are vegan-ish now. But buying a franchise doesn’t mean they actually have to eat there. And even if they did, a quick perusal of Popeyes menu shows mad vegan options. There’s rice. And there’s water. And there’s...well, that’s enough. Pai Mei from Kill Bill survived on rice and water alone, and he would’ve lived forever if Elle hadn’t poisoned him.

But just think about the cultural, economic, and metaphysical benefits of this happening. If you can trust Jay-Z enough to believe he’d get Kaepernick a job, you can surely trust him to determine a way for Popeyes to never run out of sandwiches. That’s light work. No more lines. No more purgatory. How much sweeter would those first few bites be now? Also, those millions we’re dropping on sandwiches will be in black-owned hands instead of the (presumably white) Popeyes chicken family, and is there a blacker way of “gentrifying the hood” than through fried chicken?

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And all those now-underemployed rappers on Roc-A-Fella’s roster? Boom! Jobs now. Chris and Neef? Street marketing. Peedi Crakk? Cashier supervisor. Memphis Bleek? Store manager. And no, this doesn’t help Colin Kaepernick get back in the league, but Hov can stop pretending he gives a shit about that, and focus entirely on chicken efficiency and haircare products. I see nothing but wins here.

Anyway, if you disagree, that’s fine I guess. Live your life. Just don’t block my blessings, too.

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About the author

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB and a columnist for GQ.com. His debut memoir in essays, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins), is available for preorder.