Yes, Jay-Z is probably on a first-name basis with President Obama. But despite what Jay rhymes in his just-released new song, “Open Letter,” he didn’t actually call the White House to get a pass to visit Cuba.
In addition to the usual beltway banter you might expect about gun control and North Korea, Thursday’s (April 11) daily presidential press briefing included the first time in memory that Obama administration spokesperson Jay Carney was asked to respond to a fresh hip-hop track.
After a reporter painstakingly recited such lyrics as “I turned Havana into Atlanta … Boy from the ‘hood, I got White House clearance. … Obama said ‘chill you gonna get me impeached,” Carney smiled and shot back what sounded like a prepared answer about Jay’s boasts.
“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,” said a smirking Carney, who denied that President Obama personally intervened in the anniversary trip by music’s first couple because, well, it’s not his department. “It’s a song. The president’s not communicating with Jay-Z over this trip.”
The menacing track reportedly produced by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland hit the ‘Net on Thursday morning in an attempt by Jigga to clear up any misconceptions about the couple’s trip to the Communist country.
After a trio of Republican lawmakers asked for an investigation into the cultural outing — U.S. citizens are barred from visiting the island nation for pleasure due to a decades-old embargo — a spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that they had gotten clearance from a Treasury official.
“I am absolutely saying that the White House and the president on down had nothing to do with anybody’s personal, anybody’s travel to Cuba,” Carney said. “That is something the Treasury handles.”