Jay-Z has shut down accusations of anti-Semitism after fans took aim at a lyric from a song on his new album 4:44.
The US rapper, 47, was accused of playing into Jewish stereotypes on his track, The Story of O.J in which he raps: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit/ You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.”
The lyric sparked a debate online with some fans saying they had been left “disappointed” and “depressed”.
The 99 Problems rapper has addressed the accusations saying he deliberately exaggerated his representation of Jewish people in the same way that the song “exaggerated every black image in the world”.
Speaking to Rap Radar hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian ‘B.Dot’ Miller he said: “It’s hard for me to take that serious because I’ve exaggerated every black image in the world.
“If even you, as the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon and all the things that was happening… If you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite. I can’t address that in a real way. I got to leave that where it is.”
He finished: “It was exaggeration. Of course I know Jewish people don’t own all the property in the world. I mean, I own things! [laughs] It was an exaggeration, much like that racist cartoon.”
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish organisation who work to fight anti-Semitism, also condemned Jay-Z’s use of the lyric, which they claimed plays “into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money”.