The Buzz

Blistering rap from Jay-Z over Cuba, Brooklyn Nets

Categories: Music

Beyonce Beyonce Knowles with Cuban schoolchildren in red neck scarves, termed 'revolutionary' scarves by U.S. senators. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

Looks like Jay-Z is a tad sick of the public criticism he's taking over his trip to Cuba and his new sports agency. In a rap titled Open Letter posted to his Life & Times website, the first song he's released since he greeted the arrival of baby Blue Ivy with Glory, he answers the Conservative Senators who want to put him and wife Beyoncé in jail over travel to Cuba.

"I turned Havana into Atlanta ... Politicians never did shit for me / Except lie to me, distort history ... Wanna give me jail time and a fine / Fine, let me commit a real crime," he says in the track, produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beats.

Jay-Z cuba trip Beyonce and Jay-Z, tour Old Havana, Cuba, on April 4. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

Beyoncé and Jay-Z were greeted with enthusiasm when they travelled to Havana last week. There were pictures of Bey and hubbie posing with school children wearing red scarves, dancing to a Cuban clave beat and being followed by crowds. For Canadians, this would appear unremarkable — about two million of us travel to Cuba annually and we've seen the Havana schoolchildren with their "revolutionary" scarves, part of their school uniforms.

But outraged Florida Republicans promptly suggested that the couple had broken the law and talked about jailing them. Then, when it was revealed that the Treasury department had approved the trip as an educational exchange, changed their tune to demand the president provide an explanation. Jay-Z addresses that too in his Open Letter.

"Obama said, 'Chill you're going to get me impeached' / You don't need this sh-t anyway, chill with me on the beach," he says of the president, a long-time friend.

The track then goes on to hash out the criticism he's received over selling his stake in basketball team the Brooklyn Nets and creating a sports agency with his company Roc Nation. The NBA does not allow team owners to act as agents, so selling his 1 per cent of the team clears the way for him to take on the agent business. In his time as owner, Jay-Z might have had a small stake, but he had a huge influence on the decision to move to Brooklyn. He had some blistering words for sports journalists have criticized him for abandoning the team.

"I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free / Except I made millions off you ...f---ing dweebs/ I still own the building / I'm still keeping my seats / You buy that bullsh-t, you better keep your receipts."

I don't think this track is headed for his next record, reportedly on the way now. What do the fans think? Is Jay-Z's latest the work of a rich man on a soapbox or a refreshing hit of political rap?

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