Superstar hip-hop mogul Jay-Z released a new diss track on Thursday. The target of this track makes it unusual, as most diss tracks are aimed at other artists.
Jay-Z released his latest diss track, called "Open Letter," against the United States government, who has criticized his vacation he took with his wife Beyoncé Knowles on their fifth anniversary.
The following video contains strong language.
In the rap game, a diss track is seen as the ultimate level of insult at a single person or a group. A diss track is a song usually aimed at insulting an opposing party. Diss tracks usually invite other diss tracks from the target, leading to a literal war of words. But Jay-Z's diss track stems from criticism he received when it was reported that couple would have their vacation in Cuba.
It is unlikely that the government will release a diss track in response.
Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, and Beyoncé have received heat when photos of their vacation to Cuba emerged. GOP representatives from Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart criticized the trip and sent letters to the Treasury Department, which enforces provisions of the embargo against Cuba. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose family peacefully emigrated from Cuba before the Cuban Revolution in 1956, demanded an explanation of why the trip and also showed off his hip-hop knowledge in telling the couple that they should have visited dissident rapper Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga of the hip-hop duo Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso (The Unwanted Children).
Jay-Z released the track on Wednesday night showing obvious frustration with the attention his trip cause. In the track, Jay-Z raps:
Politicians never did shit for me
Except lie to me, then start history
And later in the track he calls out Obama:
Obama said chill, you gon' get me impeached
But you don't need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach
The Treasury Department confirmed that Jay-Z obtained the proper license and achieved all of the requirements for the trip to be considered a cultural exchange trip. But the release of the track caused a reaction on Capitol Hill from several on the Republican side of the article. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted:
And former George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted:
This is not the first time that a hip-hop artist has released a diss track targeting a politician. Legendary political hip-hop group Public Enemy released a track called "By the Time I Get to Arizona" on their album Apocalypse91 … The Enemy Strikes Back that targeted former Arizona Governor Evan Meacham (R-Ariz.) and his decision to cancel Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which had been approved by his Democratic predecessor. And legendary hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur called out Bob Dole and Bill Clinton in a lyric on the track "How Do U Want It" off the album All Eyez on Me.
The White House is not taking this lying down. In response to a question asked about the song, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," and further emphasized that the White House had nothing to do with this trip. Time will tell if the White House will release a diss track in response.