Why Talk More About Jay-Z's Cuba Trip Than Rick Ross' Date Rape Rap?

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Robert Adam Mayer

Having solved all the country's economic problems, come to an agreement on DOMA, and figured out what to do about gun control, the American government finally has time to focus on what really matters: where richer-than-God superstars Jay-Z and Beyoncé spend their obscenely luxurious vacations.

More: Treasury department confirms Jay-Z, Beyoncé's trip to Cuba was authorized.

Much like (I'm assuming) all of you, I haven't intimately studied the history of White House press conferences, but I have to imagine that the number of times that middle-aged white ladies in biz-cas have quoted HOVA at these things is pretty limited. But an excruciating seventy-nine seconds was wasted spent discussing "Open Letter," Jay-Z's rebuttal to criticism over his and B's visit to Cuba.

Perhaps most problematic here is Jay Carney's droll assertion that nothing rhymes with treasury (It's true! Check a rhyming dictionary!), when really he should've been complaining about Swizz Beatz's ubiquitous and tiresome Goddamn it! and Oh!s in what is an otherwise enjoyable jam. And anyway, Jay-Z already told you he was smoking Cubanos with Castro in cabanas. Given that he actually does pretty much everything he says he's going to do, this should've tipped off the treasury, right?

Whether or not the song is any good (which it mostly is) seems almost beside the point. It's a late-career one-off from a guy who has pretty much nothing left to prove. The line that seems to have gotten the most press -- his boast that he's the Bob Dylan of rap -- seems a bit meh to me. Not only because there's no one to disagree with him except some fusty old hippies, rendering the line far from incendiary, but because it almost seems more interesting and accurate to refer to Bob Dylan as the Jay-Z of folk-rock.

More pressing than the song or all of the hullaballoo that surrounds it is the fact that Jay and Beyoncé's vacation got way more press coverage than the far-more-pressing issue of Rick Ross' implied date rape rap.



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2 comments
fireserphent
fireserphent

The way I weigh this is in terms of consequence. Rick Ross didn't actually date rape anyone, so his comment was about as harmless as OFWGKTA saying they're into necrophilia. However, how the U.S. government treats Cuba is really fucking shitty. There are plenty of nations that the U.S. shits all over and turns into Third World Nations just by isolating them. We need to not only open the border between the U.S. and Mexico, we need to allow free trade with Cuba and let anyone who wants to travel there. I think Jay-Z's song is doing much more help in that department, but on the other hand, I don't think the comparison here really makes much sense. Rick Ross sucks, that's why he didn't get more press coverage.

Dan_Moore
Dan_Moore

@fireserphent That's an interesting way of looking at it—and I think the difference between Jay-Z and Rick Ross had a lot to do with the coverage. But whether Rick Ross has date-raped anybody or not, I think it's worth asking what his weird semi-endorsement of it means to people who listen to his verse.

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