JAY-Z’s first album in four years, “4:44”, has been widely acclaimed by fans and critics, but one lyric has earned the rapper charges of anti-Semitism in the song “The Story of O.J.”.
“You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit,” JAY-Z raps. “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.”
The line has left many offended by the stereotype.
Guy Oseary, Madonna and U2’s manager, stepped into the fray to defend his friend JAY-Z, who he says knows the assertion about Jews is false, but that “in my opinion, Jay is giving the Jewish community a compliment.”
“If you read the lyrics out of context I can understand why people are jumping to that conclusion. But if you listen to the song in its entirety you will hear that the whole of the song is based on exaggerated stereotypes to make a point,” Oseary wrote on Instagram. “There are African-American stereotypes throughout the song.”
I've received a few messages from friends wondering why Jay-Z is putting out anti-semitic lyrics in his new song "The Story Of O.J." … If you read the lyrics out of context I can understand why people are jumping to that conclusion.. But if you listen to the song in its entirety you will hear that the whole of the song is based on exaggerated stereotypes to make a point.. There are African American stereotypes throughout the song.. The music video directed by @markromanek and Jay is entirely full of exaggerated stereotype imagery of African Americans.. Jewish people do NOT "own all the property in America". Jay knows this.. But hes attempting to use the jewish people in an exaggerated way to showcase a community of people that are thought to have made wise business decisions.. As an example of what is possible and achievable.. Yes, the "rich jew" the "business jew" the "jew that owns the world" is a stereotype which has been repeatedly used with the wrong sentiment.. meant only to harm the Jewish people. Perpetuating the absurdity that jews are taking over the world.. Fact: There are 7.5 billion people in the world.. Only 14 million of them are jews.. Thats 0.2 percent of the worlds population.. In my opinion, Jay is giving the jewish community a compliment.. " Financial freedom" he mentions as being his ONLY hope.. If you had to pick a community as an example of making wise financial decisions achieving financial freedom who would you choose?.. Im not offended by these lyrics.. I hear them the way he inteded them to be heard.. Giving "credit" to a community that supposedly understands what it means to have "credit".. I'm good with that.. 🙌🏽✡️
The lyric about the Jewish community is an outlier on “4:44”, which has in fact been praised for JAY-Z’s openness about personal failing, and his progressiveness on LGBTQ issues. In the song “Smile”, JAY-Z’s mother Gloria Carter is featured coming out as lesbian.
GLAAD praised the song, saying, “by sharing her truth with the world, Gloria Carter is increasing visibility of lesbian women of colour at a critical time and sending a powerful message of empowerment to the entire LGBTQ community that is perfectly timed with the end of Pride Month.”