Jay-Z and Beyonce don't always address rumors, but when they do, they don't hold back. Beyonce made a whole movie to dispel a few rumors about her pregnancy and life, and on Thursday, Jay-Z released "Open Letter," a blistering diss track that takes aim at politicians criticizing the couple's trip to Cuba, mocks stories about his new sports management company and even throws a bit of shade Barack Obama's way.
"Politicians never did sh-t for me / except lie to me, distort history," Hov raps after boasting that he "done turned Havana into Atlanta."
"They wanna give me jail time and a fine -- Fine, let me commit a real crime," he says, referencing conservative politician's efforts to investigate his trip to Cuba. "Obama said, 'Chill you're going to get me impeached' / You don't need this sh-t anyway, chill with me on the beach."
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland produced the track. Swizz can be heard adding his signature "right!" and "God damn it!" drops throughout the track. He also memorably repeats the line "Y'all goin' learn today," a refrain Jay picks up later in the song.
In a morning call on New York's Hot 97, Swizz revealed that the song was started in Jay-Z's office. "I had the portable drum machine with me, then we went down to the 40/40 [club] to watch the game," he said. "Then [Timbaland] came by and was like, 'That beat is crazy.' Next morning, Jay called me with verses."
Hot 97 played the record on repeat for hours. Ebro Darden, the station's programming director, makes an appearance on the song, ad-libbing "you got scanners, we got scanners." Trey Songz is also featured -- he's the man singing opera in the background.
Jay's plans to start a new sports agency -- and finance the project by unloading his minority share in the Brooklyn Nets -- also make an appearance in the song:
"I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off you f--king dweebs
I still own the building, I'm still keeping my seats
You buy that bullsh-t, you better keep your receipts."
"Open Letter" and Beyonce's "Bow Down" (in which the singer calls her peers "bitches" and demands they "bow down" before her) represent hip-hop's royal couple flexing their musical muscles after keeping things politically correct during the 2012 election cycle. As big supporters and friends of the First Family, they held fundraisers and appeared in ads for the Obama campaign. It seems that now the election's over, the couple fancies a return to hip-hop's more aggressive style of stunting.