LISTEN: Jay-Z responds to critics of his Cuba trip with a new rap

Jon Terbush
The Week
Jay-Z is rolling up his sleeves and firing back in verse.

"Boy from the hood but got White House clearance"

Jay-Z has a new problem: Critics of his recent trip to Cuba. And on Thursday, the rapper released a new track responding to these critics, who have questioned why the government allowed Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce to visit Fidel Castro's island nation.

In the song, called "Open Letter," Hova paints himself as the victim of a nothingburger story.

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"Boy from the hood but got White House clearance / Sorry y'all, I don't agree with y'all appearance / Politicians never did shit for me / Except lie to me, distort history," he raps.

Jay-Z's response has added new life to a controversy that has somehow continued to grow over the past few days.

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Last week, the celebrity power couple was spotted cavorting in Cuba, leading several Republican lawmakers to demand an explanation from the White House. American tourism to Cuba is prohibited by a federal travel ban, and legislators wanted to know whether the two musicians had illegally skirted that rule.

The Treasury Department ultimately responded that it had approved the trip as part of an "educational" mission led by a travel agency. The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control can grant waivers for "people-to-people" visits if the trips meet certain criteria, which this one did, the feds said.

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Then on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the song after reporters quibbled over the line suggesting the White House, not OFAC, had personally signed off on the trip.

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

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"The White House from the president on down had nothing to do with anybody’s personal — anybody's travel to Cuba," Carney added. "That is something that Treasury handles."

The track also discusses Jay-Z's new sports management venture, launched earlier this week. The rapper is reportedly selling his stake in the Brooklyn Nets so that he can sign NBA players to his sports agency, a move that has also drawn fire since he was central to bringing the team over from New Jersey in the first place.

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According to the New York Daily News, radio station Hot 97 has been playing the new song repeatedly throughout the day.

Listen to the full track below:


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