Some have accused JAY-Z of anti-Semitism after a lyric on his new album 4:44, but Russell Simmons has spoken up in defense of his fellow mogul.
On the song “The Story of O.J.,” JAY rapped, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.”
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The reaction to the lyric has been split. Some Jewish listeners have accused Jay of perpetuating stereotypes regarding Jewish people having all of the power in the U.S., also pointing out that Adolf Hitler used similar rhetoric to build resentment toward Jews before the Holocaust. Others have disagreed, saying that Jay was actually complimenting Jewish people, and that growing up in Brooklyn – an area that has a large presence of Hasidic Jews – informs his perspective.
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Russell Simmons used his Twitter account to come to Hov’s defense, calling the rapper’s critics “mischief makers.”
“I am the Chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (@FFEUnyc) and my job for the past 20 years or so is to point out the ‘sameness of different religions and races,’” Simmons tweeted. “First, let me state that mischief makers would like to take Jay’s statements about the culture and practices that exist within some parts of the jewish community (notice I say some). The fact is this culture that promotes good business and financial well being is and has been a guiding light to the black and specifically the hip-hop community.”
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In 2006, Jay-Z and Russell Simmons paired for a public service announcement addressing anti-Semitism. Watch the PSA below.