September 10, 2012


New Rap Beefs: Jay-Z vs. Occupy Wall Street & Pres. Obama vs. Nicki Minaj

Getty Images, 3
Getty Images, 3

With the presidential election coming up in under two months, it's no shock that the latest beefs sizzling in the music world are two political cuts. But it is legitimately surprising that one of the people involved actually bothered responding. Why? Because he's the President of the United States. 

First Strike: Nicki Minaj's verse on Lil Wayne's Dedication 4: "I'm a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy bitches is f—king up the economy."

Counterpoint: "She likes to play different characters," President Obama told a Florida radio station this morning. "So I don't know what's going on there."

Conclusion: Minaj just confirmed the Prez's analysis in a Tweet: "Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do *sends love & support*"

So this beef is officially squashed! There's mutual respect here. Also, let's just take a moment and acknowledge how cool it is that the Leader of the Free World is familiar with Minaj's hip hop schizophrenia.  

First Strike: Jay-Z telling author Zadie Smith his thoughts on Occupy Wall Street: "I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that 'the 1% is that,' that's not true. Yeah, the 1% that's robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that's criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.

Counterpoint: OWS's Guitarmy—which we wrote about when they mobilized with Tom Morello on International Workers' Day—responded via Tumblr: "We have spent one year on the streets organizing for exactly the things Jay rapped about in his early days, ending urban poverty, ending Stop & Frisk and police use of lethal force, of returning dignity and hope to the everyday people of New York City. These are simple civil rights issues we know Jay-Z must support, and we would love to help open his heart and mind to the work Occupy has helped do in his own former communities."

Additionally, OWS' Guitarmy will stage a teach-in outside of Jay-Z's performance at the Barclays Center to "lovingly show Jay-Z what we want." Naturally, they also pointed out that Barclays—the bank whose name graces the arena for Jay's Brooklyn Nets—has been linked to rate-fixing in a major finance scandal.

Counterpoint #2: Hip hop mogul (and Jay-Z's friend) Russell Simmons also responded to Hova's OWS critique: "J. @occupywallstreet is not a blanket indictment of the rich its an indictment of a system that let's the rich bribe R government, luv u." He later Tweeted, "#ows is a year old. Campaign finance is discussion but not loud enuf."

So there you go! Last week we had Public Enemy's Chuck D affectionately ragging on Jay-Z and this week we have Unc Simmons and OWS chiming in with a "we love you, but you're wrong" argument for Mr. Carter. Well, at least it's more civil (and relevant!) than Chief Keef threatening to smack Lupe Fiasco or Elton John calling Madonna a "fairground stripper." Can you feel the love?!