© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

On Cuba Trip, Jay-Z Responds To Washington With Verse

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, right, tours Old Havana as a body guard, left, and tour guide, right, accompany them in Cuba on Thursday, April 4.
Ramon Espinosa

This week, Washington took on hip-hop royalty, when two Florida representatives went after Jay-Z and Beyonce for their recent trip to Cuba.

"We're saying that no one is above the law, even if you are the diva Beyoncé, and that's wonderful that she's famous and rich, and Jay-Z, everybody loves him, too. Terrific. But no one's above the law," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN.

As we reported, it was much ado about nothing, because the U.S. Treasury said the couple's trip was legal. They traveled with a group authorized by the U.S. government to conduct programs that "promote people-to-people contact" on the island.

Today, Jay-Z responded, dropping some rhymes, taking some swipes in an explosive song titled Open Letter. (We would embed it, but it's laced with expletives, so head to his website, if you want to listen.)

"Politician never did [anything] for me / Except lie to me distort history. / Wanna give me jail time and a fine? / Fine, let me commit a real crime. / I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef / out of spite, I just might flood these streets," he raps.

Then the chorus kicks in: "Ya'll gonna learn today," it repeats. And Jay-Z raps: "You almost wanna start a revolution. / You know whenever I'm threatened I start shooting."

During the White House briefing this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about the song, specifically a line in which Jay-Z says a "boy from the hood (has) White House clearance."

Carney made light of it.

"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," he said.

MTV reports the song was recorded Wednesday night and published on Jay-Z's website Thursday morning.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.