Jay-Z revisited his suggestive — and somewhat ambiguous — lyrics about Jews from his latest album in an interview with the New York Times.
Responding to those who called the lyrics anti-Semitic, Jay-Z called that reaction “hypocritical.”
“Only because it’s obvious the song is, like, ‘Do you want to be rich? Do what people got rich done,’” Jay-Z told the Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet.
On this year’s “4:44,” on the track “Story of O.J.,” Jay-Z rapped:
You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club?
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America?
This how they did it.
At the time of the album’s release, a representative for the ADL said “the lyric does seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money.”
Jay-Z added that the backlash was “hypocritical” because the song, and the music video for it, make allusions to stereotypes about black people, and his critics did not call him out for employing those stereotypes.
“[I]f you didn’t have a problem with the general statement I made about black people, and people eating watermelon and things like that — if that was fine, [but] that line about wealth bothered you, then that’s very hypocritical,” he said.
“You can’t miss the context of the song,” he added. “You have to be like 5 years old or something.”