At this point in his career, Jay-Z doesn’t do many freestyle flows or rap battles these days. His output is calculated and comes in the form of the occasional album or guest appearance. So when a legend like this releases an unofficial track as a response to events in his life, you know something serious has happened. For those of you that don’t know, a little over a month ago Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce took a vacation to Cuba, which raised the ire of those in Washington who still have it out for Cuba and embrace the antiquated embargo. To answer his critics, Jay-Z released “Open Letter,” a brief song which acts more like a formal response to all the grief he’s received for his excursion. Take a listen to it right here:
With so much of his material of late aiming for big hits and being a meticulous craft, it’s refreshing to hear something so raw and off-the-cuff. The beat isn’t anything particularly revolutionary or incredibly hooky, but it serves its purpose as a solid bed for his soapbox speech about not believing in the politics of his parents and referring to himself as “the Bob Dylan of Rap.” While most of us know that the content of most rap songs is half truth and half braggadocio (sometimes far more of the latter than the former), it’s funny to see the White House officially respond to Jay’s statements in the song by saying that no, Jay-Z did not have actual White House clearance for his trip to Cuba. File that one under “O” for “Obvious” and enjoy this track that probably won’t be making it to an album any time soon.
Jarad Matula | Senior Writer