The better half.
The better half.

Well, in response to criticism of his recent trip to Cuba, Jay-Z has released a track entitled “Open Letter.” In it, he notes “Boy from the hood, I got White House clearance” and complains that “politicians never did [stuff] for me except lie to me, distort history . . . They wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine, let me commit a real crime.”

I can’t wait to see how Rush Limbaugh interprets these lyrics! Based on his recent habit of just reading the title and skipping straight over the lyrics, I think he’ll assume it’s about mail fraud.

In case you haven’t been following “Jay-Z-and-Beyonce-go-to-Cuba-gate” (there has to be a better name for this — Not Havana Ball, maybe?) because you have been doing something more enjoyable and fulfilling with your life, such as watching James Franco’s monologue from “Spring Breakers” on loop or knitting ugly kaftans for relatives you dislike: Briefly, Jay-Z and Beyonce went to Havana for their fifth anniversary, which is something that Americans typically are banned from doing without special permission. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have asked for answers about the trip, such as who approved it and what was wrong with just going to, I don’t know, Miami, or even Iceland, which has lovely hot springs and is not under the thumb of an oppressive regime. Ros-Lehtinen even went so far as to send a letter to the White House on Monday, because the advantage of being in Congress is you suddenly have a lot of spare time and can devote yourself to the Deep Vital questions of what Beyonce and Jay-Z are up to.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, or, as I like to refer to him, “Jay-C,” has already corrected the record to note that it was not White House clearance. “I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,” Carney noted. “Because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it.” This is untrue, as Twitter has noted. @Dan_E_Solo suggested “Got [my] papers from the treasury / you senators[, you know you treasure] me…”

So Jay-Z’s statement that “I got White House clearance” was just a lyrical embellishment, as was, possibly, his threat that he could “flood these streets.” (Don’t flood these streets, Jay-Z, with water or any other substance!) Jay Carney did not, but could have, gone on to note that in his verse on “Monster” Jay-Z’s suggestion that he was a “goblin, ghoul, a zombie with no conscience” was only because “hip hop mogul who is extremely wealthy and happily married” did not rhyme with anything. He did not, in fact, “smell a massacre.” He smelled 9IX Rocawear cologne for men by Jay Z, which, again, did not rhyme.

What Carney forgot is that Jay-Z can make anything rhyme with whatever he wants to, through sheer force of intimidation, but The Other Jay (Carney) does not have that luxury.

Still, now that Beyonce’s other half has responded, I guess it’s up to his critics Ros-Lehtinen and Rubio to make the next move. Hey, Rubio’s known for quoting hip hop. Maybe he can do something with this:

“Couldn’t he find a rhyme for treasury?

Clearly with all that leisure, he

Had time to get an OFAC clearance

To visit Cuba for cultural exchange purposes!” (drops mic, not for emphasis but by mistake)

On second thought, maybe not.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.