April 11, 2013

"Obama said 'chill, you gonna get me impeached'/But you don't need this shit anyway/Chill with me on the beach."

Jay-Z in his "Open Letter" which is — according to the NYT — "lash[ing] out at members of Congress who have raised questions about the legality of his recent trip to Cuba with Beyoncé, his wife."
On Friday, Representatives Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart said in a letter to Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, that the trip looked like a tourist visit. “Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda,” the letter said.

But the Treasury Department responded that site-seeing [sic] was allowed during the off-hours on an educational visit and Jay-Z and Beyoncé had fulfilled their educational obligations by meeting with the La Colmenita theater group and talking with students at the Superior Art Institute.
I'm reading these lyrics, and I don't think he's (just) lashing out at the critics in Congress.
Politicians never did shit for me
Except lie to me, distort history
Do the "politicians" include Obama? Reread that part I put in the post title. I think he's challenging Obama to drop the charade. Imagine Obama taking Jay-Z's advice, deciding he's not a politician and he doesn't need this shit, and he should just say and do everything he really wants, get himself impeached and move on to better things, AKA the beach.

Jay-Z calls himself "the Bob Dylan of rap music" and riffs on the "Idiot Wind" lyrics:
Idiot wind, the Bob Dylan of rap music
You're an idiot, baby, you should become a student
Oh, you gonna learn today
Where the fuck have you been
The world's under new management
The new role model, fuck this Zoolander shit
Here are the lyrics to Dylan's "Idiot Wind" if you want to compare them to Jay-Z's "Open Letter." They are so much more elaborate and interesting that it makes the phrase "the Bob Dylan of rap music" sound as though it were meant as an insult to rap music.

But more importantly: "fuck this Zoolander shit" is directed at Obama, isn't it? Is it mocking Obama as phonily posing, like the movie character the male model Derek Zoolander?

I've never watched that movie past the first half-hour or so, but now, I'm reading the plot summary, and I see "Zoolander" has a political assassination plot!
[T]he fashion industry has been behind several political assassinations, and the brainwashed models are soon killed after they have completed their task.... As Derek takes the runway, Mugatu's disc jockey starts playing "Relax", activating Derek's mental programming....  
So what's Jay-Z talking about? I don't like seeing even oblique references to assassination in statements about the President.

Also in the Jay-Z song: "Wanna give me jail time and a fine/Fine, let me commit a real crime...."  And: "You know whenever I'm threatened, I start shooting, bark/Catch a body, head to Houston." Bark? Does he really say "bark"? Does that mean "Barack"? At least he said "Houston" and not "Dallas."

67 comments:

damikesc said...

Can't take the hood out of the thug.

No matter how much money he has, thug's just a thug.

KLDAVIS said...

I walked out of the theater when I saw Zoolander, but it's since become one of my favorite movies. A nearly perfect comedy with a terrific cast, and infinitely rewatchable.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

I don't think Jay-Z wrote this himself, he obviously must have had some people writing it for him.

Or does that only apply to black conservative medical doctors, eh Ann?

hombre said...

Where's the beaver when we need it?

Nonapod said...

I suspect it's not a good idea to overanalyze Jay Z's lyrics and read too much into them. I don't imagine he's consciously using layered metaphors here, but then again maybe he's a lot smarter than I'm giving him credit for.

Rob said...

I reject any music form that claims to rhyme "Cubans," "confusing," "using" and "music." Rap is a crime against humanity and there's got to be a theory of the First Amendment that permits its suppression.

edutcher said...

Impeach Choom?

Now there's a thought.

damikesc said...

Can't take the hood out of the thug.

No matter how much money he has, thug's just a thug.


Which thug, the guy from the hood or the one from Hyde Park?

Paul Zrimsek said...

No need to wait for impeachment, Jay, if you'd be willing to chill in a sandtrap instead.

Hulk Smash said...

JAY-Z WRITE LIKE HULK

BUT CAN HE DO
RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHRRRR?

NO, SO PHPHTHT

tiger said...

Regardless of his 'success' all this goes to show that Mr. Carter is nothing more than an artistic hack; he gets clearance from the State Department to go to Cuba and then complains/boasts about 'politicians (who)have never done shit' for him.

Just another wanna-be with money.

Lem said...

I tried to read one of the Hulks movie reviews but I just couldn't finish.

It was too loud.

tiger said...

Just saw his claim to be the 'Dylan of rap'.

Yeah I was right: he's nothing but a wanna-be.

And his talent is nothing compared to Dylan's.

KJE said...

I've got 99 Problems and Obama ain't one...

Hulk Smash said...

HE MEAN MATT DILLON

nightowl said...

He's committed many crimes and should be in jail. He made his money as a crack dealer. So why isn't he in jail?

Chuck66 said...

Remember when our Predidents were dignified world leaders? Note someone who is called "Dude" to his face (Daily Show).

Chuck66 said...

I grew up in the 80s. I recall when Aparthied was evil (South Africa).

Yet in Cuba, Afro-Cubans are 2nd class citizens to the white-hispanics. But now Aparthied is cool.

Surfed said...
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Surfed said...

RE Idiot Wind: Chestnut Mare? McGuinn's song? Now we're rapping, er...singing. "Always alone, never with the herd. Prettiest mare I'd ever seen, you'll have to take my word." Revisting that one tonight. Might need a 12 string....

EMD said...

Houston?

"BK is from Texas."

Surfed said...

Yup. Gonna' need a 12-ver.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VogPU8I__-o

Cedarford said...

The Cuban embargo was a great stupid idea of exiles and right-wingers 50+ years back that was supposed to "drive Castro to his knees".
In fact, it probably helped perpetuate the Revolution in power...especially when the Soviet Union collapsed and we were blocked by law from going in and attempting to get a pro-Western orientation - unlike what we did in E Europe and the post Soviet nations.
But it is an unfortunate institution we are stuck with, rhetorically, until the Castros die and the older rabid dog Exiles are also mostly gone. Then politicians can go in a face-saving way to hailing a "New post-Castro Cuba" and getting rid of the Embargo.

We also didn;t learn our lesson with the Bay of Pigs and Embargo fiasco about paying too much heed to "Expert Exiles"...swallowing the Iraqi Exiles BS.

But before the Embargo goes - celebs and journalists and even the Exiles themselves attach a certain cachet to having the political clout to be exceptions to the Embargo. Unlike common American proles, they can go to Cuba.

Chuck66 said...

Cedarford, I somewhat agree with you.
The embargo/boycott was good in the 60s as we didn't want Soviet missles and troops just off our shore.

But correct. A failed dictator needs a boogyman to stay in power. A common enemy to rally around.

But I reject your labeling those of us who support freedom and liberal democracies as "right wingers" (although I am). It is strange how many Democrats and Madison leftists support the brutal aparthied rule in Cuba.

chrisnavin.com said...

Obama's like Lincoln, or Reagan, or something.

Art will save us, or maybe politics. I can't remember anymore.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

So what's Jay-Z talking about? I don't like seeing even oblique references to assassination in statements about the President.

I wonder what kind of a visit he got from the Men In Black.

We all know what would happen to us if we made such a statement here.

Lem said...

Isn't this a trap?

Obama using J-Z to bait attacks that could be rated as racist (to brand republicans as synonymous with racism) While J-Z uses Barack to do whatever it is that he does.

I find Something Palladian said the other night (at the sequester soul show tread) to be appropriate here.

I grow quite weary of the celebrity White House.

Remember back when we had people like these performing in the White House? That was great! The shoulder-drooping uncoolness of that sort of class of celebrity was an essential check on the power of the executive branch. Having a totally square Presidency keeps the President from becoming too likable and too comfortable in office. Even the power-mad, celebrity-inclined Clintons were kept in check by their dorkiness.

The Obamas are as dorky as the Clintons and the Nixons, but somehow the kids can't yet see that.

DADvocate said...

Jay-Z can visit Cuba all he wants and stay as long as he wants for all I care. I'd prefer he take very long vacations there.

Nomennovum said...

Jay-Z's rhymes sound better rapped to music than they read on paper.

Shanna said...

I walked out of the theater when I saw Zoolander, but it's since become one of my favorite movies.

That movie had so many good scenes. I'm going to have to go on youtube and watch the gasoline fight now.

'I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!'

(I really don't care about JayZ and his trip to Cuba)

Ann Althouse said...

"RE Idiot Wind: Chestnut Mare? McGuinn's song? Now we're rapping, er...singing. "Always alone, never with the herd. Prettiest mare I'd ever seen, you'll have to take my word." Revisting that one tonight. Might need a 12 string.... "

Funny, I was just thinking that song yesterday. Nearly quoted it a propos of my effort to photograph the blonde squirrel!

DADvocate said...

The Cuba embargo is stupid at this point. We need to normalize relations, send in some spies, commit espionage, etc. The Dems should suppport this whole heartedly, just think how many more voters they could gain.

Surfed said...

@The Prof - We still have Hootenannys at our place. Usually we invite a local ringer ala' Daryl's House and play the night away.

http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/

YoungHegelian said...

Okay guys, I'm stepping off into deep conspiracy theory here, so bear with me.

Jada Pinkett Smith is a signatory of this petition to end the war on drugs because of the damage they feel its doing to mostly minority communities.

What else has Jada Pinkett Smith been up to? Why, she just produced a documentary on Angela Davis. And what has been Angela Davis' cause for many years now? Why, the struggle against the "prison industrial complex", e.g. this quotation from Davis' Wikipedia article:

On March 9, 2013, Davis Spoke at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN about the realities of the mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex in the United States.

So, here we have the intersection of the drug trade & far left politics, a fairly common occurrence in Latin America (e.g. Evo Morales & coca, the FARC working with Columbian drug dealers).

Wouldn't it help the drug cartels if some of their best salesmen got out of US prisons? And, if someone like Jay-Z was sent to scope out support & money from the drug cartels & Latin lefty governments, where better to do it than Cuba, which has absolutely NO pesky reporters?

Nomennovum said...

"We need to normalize relations ...." - DADvocate

I agree. Obama should have the same kind of relationship with Cuba that he has with the UK and Poland -- that is to say, antagonistic.

SteveR said...

When I think of some one who speaks for those oppressed by "The Man", Jay-Z immediately comes to mind. Him and Barack Obama of course.

Cedarford said...

Chuck 66 - "But I reject your labeling those of us who support freedom and liberal democracies as "right wingers" (although I am)."
===============
We have had a pretty poor time - led by those right-wingers - trying to convince poor countries that want security and economic betterment - that what they need to get that is Freedom!! Hayek!! Liberal Democracies.
What we have rued is that when we come in - other cultures and increasingly our own - see Freedom!! as requiring no responsibility, a free for all to grab what you can..
And liberal democracy as a tool whereby Obamaites or Chavezistas or Malaki and the Noble Purple-Fingered Freedom&Democracy loving Shiites can vote to loot the coffers and give the money to supporters.

Too often, right wingers accept a country mired in crony capitalism and oligarchy as Free! And only get upset when the people want wealth and power distributed more evenly outside Ruling Elites.

ed said...

@ Althouse

I'm sorry but are you looking for rationality in Jay-Z's rap lyrics?

Amartel said...

Mr. Z is an entrepreneur. He sold designer t-shirts to Occupy Wall Street morons. Now he's selling distracting bullshit to idiots.

Of course he never actually provides a substantive response to anyone, member of Congress or not, who might question his motives for making a highly publicized trip to Cuba. Where regular people of African descent are treated horribly and where he would most definitely NOT be free to insult, however tangentially, the leader. He's a privileged, rich man who doesn't have to answer questions from peons, though, so shut up.

Jay said...

So what's Jay-Z talking about?

The stupid cornball brother in the White House.

ed said...

"Too often, right wingers accept a country mired in crony capitalism and oligarchy as Free! And only get upset when the people want wealth and power distributed more evenly outside Ruling Elites. "

I see Cedarford has restocked his supply of crazy pills.

damikesc said...

Which thug, the guy from the hood or the one from Hyde Park?

Jay Z is a thug.

Obama is an effete criminal.

Yet in Cuba, Afro-Cubans are 2nd class citizens to the white-hispanics. But now Aparthied is cool.

If it's sufficiently "progressive", everything is suitable.

If Hitler didn't turn on Stalin, you wouldn't see Progressives proclaim to find the Holocaust offensive.

Too often, right wingers accept a country mired in crony capitalism and oligarchy as Free!

Why bring the US into this?

But correct. A failed dictator needs a boogyman to stay in power. A common enemy to rally around.

I love that Cedarford thinks that if not for the embargo, Castro wouldn't have blamed us for all of Cuba's woes.

That hasn't stopped the rest of the world from making claims. And if basically the ONLY country with an embargo is the USA --- how bad is their economy when the rest of the world combined can't bail them out?

The Obamas are as dorky as the Clintons and the Nixons, but somehow the kids can't yet see that.

We all know why.

It rhymes with "Decause be's slack"

And liberal democracy as a tool whereby Obamaites or Chavezistas or Malaki and the Noble Purple-Fingered Freedom&Democracy loving Shiites can vote to loot the coffers and give the money to supporters.

As opposed to every other form of government ever that...does the same thing.

Robert Cook said...

Why should our government be able to prohibit our visiting any country that is willing to have us?

The embargo of Castro's cuba has been wrong-headed and counterproductive from the start.

Nomennovum said...
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chrisnavin.com said...

Avast ye mateys, all this talk of Cuba and Obama is like chum in the water for The Dread Pirate Cook, sailing the socialist high seas.

Aaaaarrrrgh!

EMD said...

The stupid cornball brother in the White House.

Stop using Cornball Brother as a slur!

It is an esteemed moniker most gloriously embraced by the smart and athletic Cornball Brother #10 -- Robert Griffin III!!!!

David said...

Tourist visits in the guise of education are a long time scam for those who want to visit Cuba. You don't have to be a celebrity to do it. It does take some cash though. As scandals go, this isn't much.

Lem said...

"The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition."

Rules for Radicals.

Lem said...

I listened to the Jay-Z song and this is what I heard.

You've Got Your Troubles

Lem said...

From one gansta to another.

cubanbob said...

The only thing that would improve J Z's music would be someone busting a cap in his ass.

As for Cuba, ain't C 4 so wonderful to think about the poor Cubans. Look I hate to break the news but no one on the island that but for the embargo Cuba would be in grate shape. Castro up to know needed that prop, perhaps if the opposition in Venezuela wins then he loses his last patron and has to make nice with the US. If they don't, he doesn't want American interference in Cuba. All his way or no way. Cuba has relationships with the rest of the world, there is basically nothing they can't buy that they need provided they have the cash to pay. And to the extent that the US would offer Castro credit terms, long terms, would he be interested in trading with the US. There is no upside for the US to lift the embargo. Whatever sales the US does in Cuba is the US will get unless there is easy,cheap long term credit to a regime that ultimately won't pay.

Besides, if American want a Latin Caribbean vacation, better in Puerto Rico which is after all American or in the Dominican Republic which isn't a foe. Why hurt our family and friends to benefit our foe? Incidentally what good would lifting the embargo do for Cuba if the quotas and tariffs on sugar isn't lifted on Cuban exports to the US?

Next time you go food shopping, look at the label. Wherever you see corn syrup, corn sugar think Cuban sugar producer replaced by Mid Western farmer and that farmer isn't going to allow himself to replaced by Cuba. Or when you pump your gas and see the label telling you up to 10% ethanol, think sugar cane, think Cuba. Well think again because that is never going to happen. The status quo works well for both countries and neither really wants to get rid of it.

Amartel said...

This made me laugh (as transcribed by Politico):

DONOVAN SLACK, POLITICO: I just want to return to Beyonce and Jay-Z. Jay-Z released a rap today, I know the other day you said that Treasury was the one that cleared their trip, he suggested that he got White House permission – that he personally spoke with the president. I’ll just quote: “I turned Havana into Atlanta. Boy from the hood, I got White House Clearance. Obama said chill you gonna get me impeached. You don’t need this expletive anyway, chill with me on the beach."

JAY CARNEY: I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury, because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it.

SLACK: So are you saying that he did not, the president, did not have a conversation with Jay-Z?

JAY CARNEY: I am absolutely saying that the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's personal -- anybody's travel to Cuba. That is something that Treasury handles.

… it's a song, Donovan. The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.

****************
Mr. Z says he "boy from the hood got White House clearance," like he got clearance to visit the White House, not that he got White House permission to go to Cuba. So the original question is stupid which allows Carny to make the crack about how he guesses nothing rhymes with Treasury.

2. Carny never denies that Obama and MR. Z had the conversation that is referenced in the song. He doesn't have to since the Politico brainiac never asks him.

Amartel said...

Zoolander totally creeped me out.

ricpic said...

The lyrics are simply the expression of chaos. Saul Bellow, in The Dean's December, wrote all there is to be said about "authentic" blacks, from Trayvon to Jay Z, "They lead whirling lives."

Cedarford said...

Cubanbob- He's one of the last defenders of a stupid idea we are stuck with until Fidel and Raoul croak...

Then, Cubanbob or not - we call it "Post-Castro Cuba" and end half a century of stupid Cuban Exile extortion on politicians in the USA.
And we will have to sort out what the Commies looted from the US cash/property escrow account, same with what the Exiles looted from the Cuban escrow using sympathetic US judges. Against valid claims..

eddie willers said...

At least this post sent me back to listen to "Blood On The Tracks".

eddie willers said...

Dylan rapping before Jay-Z born:

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
By the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin’ that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone’s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tiptoes
Don’t try “No-Doz”
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch the parkin’ meters

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don’t work
’Cause the vandals took the handles

Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

ampersand said...

Yeah , we should normalize trade with Castro. We can send them billions in food,medicine,aid,etc and they can send us...........hmmm,cigars and Old Desoto parts.

bgates said...

Why should our government be able to prohibit our visiting any country that is willing to have us?

Because traveling there would emit deadly carbon dioxide, and may also require us to spend money the government has ordered us to use on a health insurance policy of their choosing?

Amartel said...

Jay-Z and Beyoncé in Cuba, Dennis Rodman in North Korea. Celebrity diplomacy. This reminds me of an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century where Buck Rogers, who was from the 70s, goes forward in time and teaches the uptight future people how to loosen up and disco. Because he was so cool. Except he so clearly was totally not cool. Even an 11 year old from the hinterlands could see that. Similarly, Rodman is a clown puppet, looking like he's been scraped off the cutting room floor of Team America Fuck Yeah, and these two Cubaphiles are looking a lot like Mr. and Mrs. Peron rough it to bring Art to the poors. Dance, suckers, and try to look authentically downtrodden.

cubanbob said...

C 4 is so predictable. Can never rebut an argument and ways makes an ass out himself.

rcocean said...

I'm always struck how liberals never express any moral outrage at the Castro Dictatorship. There is no freedom in Cuba and standard living is very low. The only reason its not North Korea is because Cuba is fairly nice island with nice weather and plenty of farm land.

But liberals don't care. In fact, they get UPSET if you criticize President Castro and his fantastic health care system.

Basta! said...

"bark" is used in certain circles for Hennessy, but here I suspect it's onomatopoeic for the sound his gun makes --- just another (cooler) way to say "bang".

KenK said...

Nobody's fuckin' business where he goes on vacation.

SOJO said...

Well, it's like Bob Dylan in that I don't know what he's talking about. But whatever, it seems to be a long "Fuck You, I'll do what I want" which seems to be their mode now. (Beyonce with the Bow Down Bitches.)

Still, Beyonce looks like she's truly having fun with him. If so, he's a smart guy on a level that powerful guys usually aren't.

MayBee said...

Wasn't Obama with Jay-Z and a big champagne fountain the day after four were killed in Benghazi? They are two men of the people.

Lenneres Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lenneres Hill said...

your an "idiot baby" he says "bang" like a gun going off. "Idiot Wind". Jay is right you bloggers and media people are lames.