Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Obama says he didn't have anything to do with Jay-Z and Beyoncé's trip to Cuba, has "better things to do"

In a development likely to confuse and dishearten Brad Paisley and anyone else who just had a vague, hard-to-explain feeling that Barack Obama would have a special sympathetic connection to members of the hip-hop community, the President has thrown Jay-Z under the bus, just four short years after calling Kanye West a “jackass,” a charge he repeated in 2011. Yesterday morning, the President appeared on The Today Show and confirmed what his press secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters last week: That Jay-Z and Beyoncé did not have official White House clearance for their recent trip to Cuba. “This is not something the White House was involved with,” the President told interviewer Savannah Guthrie, adding, as is for clarification, “We’ve got better things to do.”

After the pair were roasted for the trip by conservative commentators who plainly did not have better things to do, Jay-Z released his official response in the form of a song called “Open Letter,” in which he modestly described himself as a “boy from the hood, but got White House clearance,” and included what appeared to be a loose transcription of a one-sided conversation between himself and Obama, in which the President instructed him to “Chill, you gonna get me impeached. You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach.” (Clearly, the song was written in a hurry, which helps explain why Obama is quoted as using the word “chill” way more times than he did in the last State of the Union address.)


According to Carney, the trip was not some secret surveillance goodwill mission ordered from the very top, but an “educational trip” of the kind that is routinely set up through the Department of Treasury. The Today Show interview was taped shortly before bombs exploded at Monday’s Boston marathon, a considerable distraction from everyday celebrity bullshit that helps explains why the Jay-Z nugget took a while to hit the wire services. Before Jay-Z decides to respond to this latest affront by cutting another song torn from today’s headlines, he might want to consider that, in this battle of wits and words, the current leader is Carney, who told reporters that his best guess for any inaccuracies in Jay-Z’s lyrics were probably due to the fact that “nothing rhymes with ‘Treasury.’”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Share This Story