Reporting Shannon Carlin
Jay-Z’s new song “Open Letter” might be his response to the criticism surrounding his and Beyoncé’s recent trip to Cuba, but the White House notes that people probably shouldn’t take every verse of the song so literally.
On the song, Jay-Z raps, “Boy from the hood but got White House clearance,” in reference to the lawmakers who questioned whether or not the couple had the right licenses to travel to the Communist country. It was later confirmed by the U.S. Treasury that the trip was “fully licensed.”
In a press conference held today (April 11), Jay Carney, the President’s Press Secretary, addressed the validity of Jay-Z’s statement. “I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it,” Carney joked. Watch below.
After a reporter asked about Obama’s role in Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip — using Jay’s verse, “Obama said ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached/You don’t need this s*** anyway/ Chill with me on the beach…’”– Carney sternly answered, “I am absolutely saying that the White House and president on down has not had anything to do with anyone’s travel to Cuba, that is something Treasury handles.”
He added, “It’s a song. The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.”
We’re guessing this also means that POTUS and Jay-Z were also not chilling on the beach together recently. Jay, of course, has proven to be a fruitful ally for the President, donating money, hosting campaign fundraisers and performing at Obama events.
On “Open Letter,” Jay not only flaunts his recent trip to Cuba and sends a little advice Obama’s way, but taunts the powers that be over his Brooklyn Nets payday, highlighting his connection with the franchise, where he will be forced to unload his portion of ownership in order to recruit basketball talent for his new Roc Nation Sports management firm.
“Could’ve bought the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off it, you f***** dweebs/I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seat/ Y’all buy that bulls***, you’d better keep your receipt”
The song was produced by Swizz Beatz and Timberland, who recently signed to Jay’s Roc Nation label.