By Nealwhitehousepiper (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nealwhitehousepiper (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

The rapper’s supporters say the meaning behind the lyrics are taken out of context.

Rapper Jay-Z came under heavy criticism by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for lyrics included in 4:44, his newest album. The organization said the concerned lyrics could be considered anti-Semitic. The song under attack is named “The Story of O.J.” The lines in question suggest Jewish Americans own a majority of property in America because they don’t spend their earnings frivolously.

“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”

ADL, to its credit, knows that such an anti-Semitic stance could be unintentional. In an interview with the media, a representative of the ADL said, “…we know that Jay-Z is someone who has used his celebrity in the past to speak out responsibly and forcefully against the evils of racism and anti-Semitism.” He had spoken out multiple times against the pitfalls of taking a racist stance. ADL, however, stresses on the fact it finds the specific lyric a problem area. On first glance, this lyric seems to pander to standard hateful anti-Semitic stereotypes concerning money and the Jews. The concept of Jews owning almost all properties in the United States and have utilized credit to move up the financial ladder is not only false, but the lie creates psychological hatred towards Jews as well. It is hinted that the community controls finance and banks.

Social media predictably went on overdrive on whether the lyric can be considered to be against Jews or the famed rapper has actually complimented the Jews for their business acumen. Indeed, the second stance is the one taken by Jews who know the rapper in the flesh. Guy Oseary, the manager to U2 and Madonna, and a Jew, has argued that those who accuse the rapper has taken the line out of its present context. He said Jay-Z knows that all properties in the United States are not owned by Jews. The lyrics are the rapper's way of saying what is achievable with hard work and financial prudence. The rapper cites financial freedom as the community's sole hope. Oseary underlined the fact he himself is not a bit offended by such lyrics.

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.. 🙌🏽✡️

A post shared by Guy Oseary (@guyoseary) on

Jay-Z has also found a supporter in Russell Simmons. The latter gave a throated defense of the rapper through social media when he wrote that people who want to create mischief by exploiting interpretations which do not exist behind those lyrics should learn about the many excellent business practices adopted by Jews in general.

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