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People Are Calling One Lyric On Jay-Z's "4:44" Anti-Semitic

"Wasnt really expecting Jay-Z to go anti-Semitic when I started the new '4:44' album this morning," one listener tweeted.

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On the second track, "The Story of O.J.," Jay-Z says, "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 is how they did it."

Some people were surprised to see Jay-Z stereotype Jewish people.

Wasnt really expecting Jay-Z to go anti-semitic when I started the new 4:44 album this morning.… https://t.co/w46J3ZZTCH

@Chemzes pretty disappointing from Hov tbh. awaiting the inevitable "its not anti-semitic its true" brigade

Others were disappointed.

I hope @S_C_ will speak to this gross anti-semitism bc I love him and @Beyonce & this is super distressing https://t.co/HggpbRHPbT

@ryangordonkatz @Benhartman Awful. :( This really disappoints and depresses me. Classic anti Semitic tropes. :(

Some were angry.

Others were confused.

No funny shit, it's anti Semitic to say Jews own everything? https://t.co/jkRv69BMQq

While the lyrics upset some fans, others quickly came to Jay-Z's defense.

Think of a rapper—or most musical artists, really—as speakers in a poem. They are themselves, but r also playing a version of themselves...

is that it allows for a freedom and for a type of bracing sorta self-exploration that would seem crass/unseemly in any other area of life.

And some braced themselves for the backlash and ~hot takes~.

I GUARANTEE we will be hearing "Jay-Z made anti-semitic statements on his song 4:44" for saying jewish people own all the property watch lol

Let's just say I'm in general skeptical of people who never listen to rap with Takes on Jay-Z talking about Jewish people

Forward.com pointed out that on 2007's "No Hook" off of American Gangster, he says, "Had to get some challah bread so you can holla back. My Jewish lawyer too enjoyed the fruit of letting my cash stack."

While others noted that in 2006, Jay-Z and Russell Simmons filmed a PSA admonishing those use slurs of any kind. "What's not cool is anti-Semitism. It's a long word for racism. Anti-Semitism and racism are the same thing," Simmons says in the video. "Don't be silent, remember: we are one," Jay-Z adds.

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A representative for Jay-Z did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News's request for a comment.


Jarett Wieselman is a senior entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. Wieselman writes about and reports on the television industry.

Contact Jarett Wieselman at jarett.wieselman@buzzfeed.com.

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