JAY-Z was criticised for what some deemed anti-semitic lyrics on his song The Story of O.J.
JAY-Z has responded to claims that he penned anti-semitic lyrics for track The Story of O.J., admitting it's hard for him to take the criticism seriously.
The 47-year-old rapper caused controversy with the tune on his album 4:44, which features the lyrics: "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 is how they did it."
The Anti-Defamation League then stated that while they did "not believe it was Jay-Z’s intent to promote anti-Semitism", they did think the lyric "does seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money".
"The idea that Jews ‘own all the property’ in this country and have used credit to financially get ahead are odious and false," they added in a statement to Rolling Stone. "Yet, such notions have lingered in society for decades, and we are concerned that this lyric could feed into preconceived notions about Jews and alleged Jewish ‘control’ of the banks and finance."
During his appearance on the Rap Radar podcast, Jay was asked about the anti-semitic accusations, and insisted he can't be accused of being discriminatory towards the Jewish community when his lyrics traditionally "exaggerate every black image in the world."
“It’s hard for me to take that serious because I’ve exaggerated every black image in the world,” 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 (in the Story of O.J. music video), if you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite.”
Jay continued in the interview to state that he had deliberately exaggerated the situation as part of his artistic license.
“Of course I know Jewish people don’t own all the property in America. I mean, I own things! So I know that they don’t own all of the property in America. It was an exaggeration," he added.
“I pretty much said, ‘If you want to be good at property and things like that, follow this pattern. It’s almost like saying, 'Kobe Bryant shot a lot of shots. If you want to be good at basketball, practice your thousand shots and do what he did.' And then Kobe Bryant comes out and says, 'Whatchu trying to say, all black people play basketball?' That’s how ridiculous it is... C’mon, you know I didn’t say that. Context is everything."