Jay-Z Responds on Cuba, Denies (Dubiously) Politicians Ever Did Anything for Him

That Nets money he's rapping about, the government helped with that


doing shit for politicians

Jay-Z responded to criticism from Florida lawmakers about he and his wife Beyoncé's wedding anniversary trip to Cuba, releasing a new song, "Open Letter," an early reference to being a "boy from the hood but got White House clearance" predictably yielded a lame response from the White House, with Jay Carney offering to reporters that "nothing rhymes with Treasury." The Treasury department is responsible for licensing travel to Cuba, permitted only for cultural/educational activities. Though the Obama Administration has eased the licensing a bit, it remains difficult for Americans to visit Cuba legally. The Treasury Department, for its part, says it didn't know it had cleared Jay-Z and Beyoncé for the trip to Cuba, claiming that the procedures for licensing "people-to-people" (cultural) trips doesn't require the tour-organizer to provide a list of attendees, just an itinerary.  In his response Jay-Z rejected political connections, rapping "Politicians never did shit for me except lie to me, distort history."

In taking umbrage at lawmakers targeting his trip to Cuba, in his song Jay-Z suggested to them: "let me commit a real crime, I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef, out of spite, I just might flood these streets." But just like it shouldn't be illegal to go to Cuba to celebrate your wedding anniversary, it shouldn't be illegal to buy a kilo for $17k. Jay-Z, an Obama supporter who nevertheless has said "we need less government" missed an opportunity to highlight the absurdity of both the Cuban travel ban and the war on drugs.

Instead, he moved on to rebuffing critics of his divestment from the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets ("I made millions off it," Jay-Z boasts). That profit, of course, would be impossible without the government being there to bulldoze anything in the way of getting the stadium (in which Jay-Z is also still invested) built. So Jay-Z boasts of the fruit of what politicians did for him in the same song he denies they ever did.

Watch Reason TV explore the big governemnt eminent domain abuses that made Jay-Z's Nets money possible: