Carney denies White House approved Jay-Z trip, disses rapper’s rhyming skills

posted at 6:01 pm on April 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Live by the stupid, pop-culture story, Obama White House. Die by the stupid, pop-culture story.

Enjoy this video, in which the administration that got reelected on the strength of its Big Bird and binders memes, is asked in a press briefing about the lyrics of a Jay-Z rap.

Of course, the problem for the White House is this isn’t just a stupid pop-culture story. It just happened to be advanced today using a pop-culture vehicle, thereby giving an awkward story for President Obama about as much chance at life in the news cycle as it could possibly hope for. Thanks, Jay-Z!

Jay-Z released a rap online Wednesday entitled “Open Letter,” meant to answer critics of his recent anniversary trip to Cuba with his wife. In the lyrics, the rapper contradicted the White House’s official version of the story on how Jay-Z and Beyoncé got clearance to travel to our Communist neighbor to the south. The lyrics, as transcribed by our friend E.M. Zanotti:

Got too much bread they try to jam ya
Boy from the hood but got white house clearance
Sorry, y’all, I don’t agree with your appearance
Politicians never done shit for me, except lie to me, distort history
Wanna give me jail time, fine, let me commit a real crime

See, the White House has been claiming it was the Treasury Department that gave the Carters clearance for their “educational,” “person-to-person” jaunt to Cuba, and they had nothing to do with it. Jay-Z’s formulation here could certainly be artistic license, but given his close personal relationship with Obama, definitely worth a question, even if the poor reporter is reduced to sounding supremely silly dryly quoting rap lyrics.

Jay Carney’s response:

But on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said dismissively “it’s a song.”

“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury, because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel and the White House had nothing to do it,” Carney said.

OH. SNAP. JAY-Z, THIS PREP-SCHOOL, IRONIC GLASSES-WEARING PUNK JUST SAID YOU CAN’T RHYME TREASURY. DOESN’T HE KNOW YOU ONCE RHYMED “FLAKIEST” AND “ATHEIST,” AND THAT TRADITIONAL LITERARY PERFECT RHYME IS NOT A REQUIREMENT OF MODERN-DAY POETS? BITCH.

Read Zanotti’s hilarious explication of the entire song, here. Persistent, callous ignorance of Cuba’s plight, it turns out, is quite a catchy hook.

Watch out, y’all. Jay Carney-Jay-Z is about to break ground as the only rap feud crappier than ones involving Ja Rule.


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