The rapper’s much-praised track The Story of OJ repeats a racist trope about Jewish people. It can’t just be laughed off as a compliment
A packet of celebratory dreidels to Jay-Z, who released his latest album, 4.44, this week. Aside from one piece in this paper questioning Hova’s feminism (although it seems unlikely that the man who wrote Big Pimpin’ was ever attempting to rival Gloria Steinem for feminist of the year), the reviews have been adulatory. “Genius” is a common verdict, along with praise for the rapper’s emotional intelligence. Quite how emotionally intelligent it is, however, to rely on antisemitic tropes in your songs is an open question.
YEAH, I SAID IT. In the much-praised track The Story of OJ, Jay-Z muses: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money in the strip club? / Credit / Ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? / This is how they did it.” Oh, Jay. If you’re going to wheel out antisemitic economic stereotypes at least make them scan.