This morning, Jay-Z responded to his Cuba-tour critics (including, but not limited to, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ,Democrat and head of the Democratic National Committee) by releasing a song entitled “Open Letter” via his website. And it’s everything anyone who expected any kind of response from Jay-Z could ever hope for. Unless you were hoping for a really good single. In which case, you’ll be disappointed.
Let’s parse out the lyrics, Pitchfork style. Because people, we gotta problem.
First off, it’s clear that Jay-Z’s tour of Cuba did not include meeting any black people who live there:
I done turn Havana to Atlanta
Guayabera shirts and bandanas
Okay, I should be clear that I don’t explicitly understand the last part of this verse, as Guayabera shirts and bandanas are an invention of Cuba and not Atlanta, but this is a rap song, so it probably just rhymed correction. The first part, however, appears to be taking credit for bringing some sort of African-American culture to a predominantly Hispanic country, which is great, and makes the argument that Jay-Z is some sort of cultural ambassador, thus befitting his only authorized reason for visiting, but what Jay-Z seems to not know is that he appears to be the only black person in Cuba because the ones there are oppressed by the Communist government. And not just according to me, who is not particularly an expert on oppression. According to Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Anyway, let’s move on.
Got too much bread they try to jam ya
Boy from the hood but got white house clearance
Sorry, y’all, I don’t agree with your appearance
Politicians never done shit for me, except lie to me, distort history
Wanna give me jail time, fine, let me commit a real crime
Apparently, we all hate Jay-Z because he’s living the American Dream of being a self-made millionaire and we’re all jealous because we’re not. Which is fine. I mean, the government takes more from me in taxes and student loans per year than Jay-Z earns in a month, so I guess I know how he feels or something. But it’s odd to say that “politicians never done shit for him,” (you’re adults, you can handle it), when they also apparently gave him White House clearance (which, weirdly contradicts the White House’s account of things), several invitations to State dinners, and private meetings, presumably to discuss things like economic policy and golf game handicap comparisons. I mean, sure, I wish I could host campaign events at clubs featuring a $175,000 Ace of Spades pyramid, too, but that’s not why travel to Cuba is problematic.
Obama said, chill, you gonna get me impeached.
We don’t need this [expletive] anyway, chill with me on the beach
Seriously. Go to Hawaii with him on Air Force One. We pay for it anyway. And the pot selection’s better.
But this is probably my favorite part of the whole thing.
I’m in Cuba, I love Cubans. This communist talk is so confusing.
When it’s from China this very mike that I’m using.
Damn, those Communist sweatshops make reliable electronics. We should totes have more of them. I mean, I can’t see anything wrong with forcing children to work 18 hour days making consumer-ready recording equipment that costs more than they make in a year. They have small fingers. They can do it better. The plight of the poor is only some sh*t Jay-Z puts in a song, and uses to whack his critics when they claim he hasn’t suffered enough to write good music. It’s not like its real or anything, you assholes.
Frankly, I cared more that his wife looked, on that trip, like she fell into Khaddafi’s hamper, than I cared that they went to Cuba. Until now, when it’s clear they’re idiots, and this is the kind of image we’re exporting to the third world in a time when other third world Communist dictator is aiming a nuclear missile into the middle of the ocean where some of our buffet king crab legs come from. Fortunately, Jay Carney, who saw fit to have no comment on the subject before, seems to now note the same intelligence deficiency and implies that the Administration is unlikely to approve any of Jay-Z’s controversial travel visas in the future, because – and this is key – he basically exposed the White House to an investigation on influence, and contradicted every public statement the Administration has made on the subject.
But on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said dismissively “it’s a song.”
“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury, because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel and the White House had nothing to do it,” Carney said.
“I am absolutely saying that the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with it,” he continued, adding that “the president did not communicate with Jay-Z over the trip.”
The more you know.