In addition to collecting information about actions and events within the president’s administration, Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary, can add rap lyric analysis to his list of duties. Forced to explain that “nothing rhymes with Treasury“, Carney was asked to respond to passages from Jay-Z’s ‘Open Letter’ that insinuates that Hova and Beyoncé had direct presidential blessing to go party in Cuba.
Following several large rap mogul-esque life decisions e.g. selling his share in the Brooklyn Nets so he can become a sports agent and holidaying in the communist stronghold of Cuba, Jay-Z responded to criticism, teaming up with Swizz Beatz and Timbaland to release the vitriolic rap. For the most part, it’s just the standard “I’m Jay-Z so I can do whatever the hell I like” fare, but it was the following passage that stirred interest among political commentators.
I turned Havana into Atlanta/ Boy from the hood, I got White house clearance/ Obama said, ‘Chill, you’re going to get me impeached’/ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach.
Carney emphatically denied any communication between Obama and Jay-Z, indicating that it was foolish to interpret rap as gospel. Hip hop, as with other creative mediums, freely blurs the line between fact and fiction in an attempt to optimise an artistic vision and the Treasury (who okay-ed the trip), as with oranges, is real flow killer, which stands to reason why there are as few quality raps about the department that manages national finance as there are about breakfast juices. Love your work Jay (both Carney and Z).
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