White House responds to Jay-Z 's 'Open Letter' to Cuba trip controversy
Jay-Z's new track might set off some alarms for President Barack Obama.
Today the rapper released a song titled "Open Letter" in which he implies that the president gave him special clearance to visit Cuba last week.
"Obama said chill, 'You gonna get me impeached, but you don't need this s--- anyway, chill with me on the beach," Jay-Z raps.
Jay-Z and wife Beyonce traveled to Cuba for their fifth anniversary last week, despite the U.S. embargo barring citizens from visiting the communist island. The couple's trip has drawn the ire of Republican politicians including Marco Rubio and Mario Díaz-Balart, who claim that the U.S. Treasury should not have approved the trip.
According to the U.S. Treasury, Jay-Z's trip was approved as part of an educational exchange, but lyrics like "Boy from the hood but got White House clearance," have caused some to speculate that President Obama bent the rules for his friend. The two became close during Obama's second presidential campaign, with Beyonce singing the national anthem at Obama's inauguration.
But according to Jay-Z, the trip was perfectly legal. "Wanna give me jail time and a fine/ Fine, let me commit a real crime," he challenges politicians.
The White House also stands by the trip's legality. Obama's press secretary Jay Carney denied any presidential involvement, stating that the Treasury-not the president-handles clearance.
"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," Carney joked. "The White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's ... travel to Cuba. That is something that Treasury handles."
"Open Letter" has also created controversy among Brooklyn Nets fans, whom Jay-Z may have dissed in the first verse with the lyrics "Would've bought the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off it, you f----n' dweeb/ I still own the building, I'm still keeping my seat/ Y'all buy that bulls---, you'd better keep your receipt."
Some Nets fans accuse Jay-Z of abandoning his hometown team after he sold his ownership stake in the team.