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August 22, 2017 4:30 pm

Jay-Z Refutes Accusations of Antisemitic Lyrics: ‘It Was an Exaggeration’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Jay-Z. Photo: Joella Marano via Wikimedia Commons.

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z has slammed claims that lyrics on his recently released album included an antisemitic stereotype about Jews.

The controversial lyrics are on the track “The Story of O.J.,” in which Jay-Z raps, “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it. Financial freedom my only hope. F*** livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.”

In a Rap Radar podcast on Friday, the rapper said that on the track, from his latest album “4:44,” he deliberately exaggerated the connection between Jews and property in order to address the issue of stereotypes in general. Addressing the accusations of antisemitism he faced, he said, “It’s hard for me to take that serious because I’ve exaggerated every black image in the world.”

“Of course I know Jewish people don’t own all the property in the world,” he added. “I mean, I own things! It was an exaggeration. In the context of the song, I’m trying say, you guys did it right!”

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The rapper also urged his Jewish critics to recognize that the music video for “The Story of O.J.” solely focuses on stereotypes of black people. He explained, ” If even you, as the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon and all the things that was happening…If you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite. I can’t address that in a real way. I gotta leave that where it is.”

According to the song biography included with the album, “The Story of O.J.”  is “really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists, especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”

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