In the 4:44 track “The Story of O.J.,” Hov delivers a line that perpetuates a Jewish stereotype regarding business and money: “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 line immediately drew polarized responses from Jewish listeners. Some expressed their disappointment with Jay, claiming the statement reinforced the anti-Semitic notion that “Jews have all the power.” Critics also pointed out that the lyrics were very similar to rhetoric used by Adolf Hitler leading up to the Holocaust.
Others, however, insisted Jay’s line was not negative or anti-Semitic at all. Israeli-American talent manager Guy Oseary, who works with acts like Madonna and U2, said some people are taking the lyrics out of context, and that Jay actually exaggerated stereotypes to make a point.
“Jewish people do NOT ‘own all the property in America.’ Jay knows this. But he’s attempting to use the Jewish people in an exaggerated way to showcase a community of people that are thought to have made wise business decisions. As an example of what is possible and achievable,” Oseary wrote on Instagram. “[…] In my opinion, Jay is giving the Jewish community a compliment.”
On Tuesday, Simmons echoed Oseary’s statement, stating Jay’s lyrics about business savvy Jews is a “guiding light to the black and specifically the hip-hop community.”
..."sameness of different religions and races." First, let me state that mischief makers would like to take Jay's statements about the...— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) July 4, 2017
...culture and practices that exist within some parts of the jewish community (notice I say some). The fact is this culture that promotes...— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) July 4, 2017
...good business and financial well being is and has been a guiding light to the black and specifically the hip-hop community.— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) July 4, 2017
As pointed out by Buzzfeed, Jay and Simmons teamed up back in 2006 for PSA addressing anti-Semitism. "What's not cool is anti-Semitism. It's a long word for racism. Anti-Semitism and racism are the same thing," Simmons explains. "Don't be silent, remember: We are one, one voice," Jay Z said at the end of the video.