Wyclef Gets Political Over Jay-Z’s ‘Open Letter’

Wyclef is the latest rapper to contribute a version of Jay-Z‘s “Open Letter,” a song with bristling lyrics that has become a hip-hop meme of sorts.

The former Fugees frontman dropped his version of “Open Letter” on Tuesday (April 16), following remixes from Pitbull and Common.

Where Jay-Z’s original “Open Letter” takes on politicians who criticized his trip to Cuba, Wyclef aims his barbs at the powers that be he says derailed his run for Haitian president.

“I was with Bill Clinton on Air Force One…Used to go to DC, see Nancy Pelosi,” he raps, “I spoke in front of Congress fighting for my country/But once I decided I’m gonna run for president/My whole life changed in a split second/Now I understand the hidden eye on a dollar/They’ll never let a n**** have the power”

Common released his “Open Letter II” on Monday. Common defends Jay-Z and President Barack Obama, who came under fire for inviting Common to the White House in 2011.

At the root of Common’s White House controversy was his endorsement of Assata Shakur, who, as a member of the Black Panther Party, escaped to Cuba after being convicted of killing a New Jersey State police officer. With “Open Letter II,” Common fires off his thoughts on the subject in “Open Letter II”

“My man went to Cuba, caught in a political triangle, Bermuda/ The same way they said she was a shooter/ Assata Shakur, they tried to execute her/ I went to Cuba to see her/ We should free her, like we should Mumia/ Y’all seen how Fox News tried to do me/ They say I’m too black, like it’s light’s out/Might not get invited back to the White House/Still, with the Obamas I ride/I’ll meet the President on the South Side”

Pitbull released his “Open Letter” over the weekend. He stands by Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s right to travel to Cuba and he questions the motives of the politicians who made a stink about the trip.

“Politicians love to hate you,” he raps. “But then they run away when it’s time to debate you/ Question of the night/ would they have mess with Mr. Carter if he was white?…Happy 5th year anniversary, Jay and B/ Don’t worry, it’s on me.”

The controversy heightened when Jay-Z dropped his “Open Letter” in response to critics who questioned the legitimacy of a trip to Cuba he took with wife Beyoncé on the couple’s 5th anniversary.

“Boy from the hood but got White House clearance,” Jay-Z raps, “Sorry y’all, I don’t agree with y’all appearance/ Politicians never did s*** for me/ Except lie to me/ distort history/Wanna give me jail time and a fine/Fine, let me commit a real crime…”

With a reference to Obama, Jay’s “Open Letter” went political. As a result, Jay’s rap was rebuked by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and called for a response from the White House.

In a press conference held on (April 11), Jay Carney, the President’s Press Secretary, addressed a question saying “The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.”

Are Wednesday (April 17) President Obama reaffirmed his position.

“You know, this is not something the White House was involved with,” President Obama told Today. “We’ve got better things to do.”

Check out Wyclef’s “Open Letter” video below.

More from Erik Parker

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