The White House press secretary responded to rapper Jay-Z's latest release "Open Letter" that some believed addressed both his recent wedding anniversary trip to Cuba and the President.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, was questioned about the rapper's lyrics in a conference that took place on Thursday. One woman at the conference questioned if Jay-Z, 43, received clearance to travel to Cuba with his wife and singer Beyonce Knowles, 31, amid the U.S. embargo against the country after listening to the rapper's song.
"Boy from the hood but got White House clearance," the rapper born Shawn Carter rhymed on "Open Letter." "Obama said chill, you gonna get me impeached / You don't need this (expletive) anyway, chill with me on the beach."
Carney insisted that Jay-Z did not get personal clearance from President Barack Obama to travel to Cuba during his most recent wedding anniversary.
"I guess nothing rhymes with treasury. I am absolutely saying that the White House, from the President on down, had nothing to do with anybody's travel to Cuba," Carney responded to the inquisitive reporter at the conference, according to E! News reports. "That is something the treasury handles. OFAC, Treasury, these are tough words to rhyme."
The White House Press Secretary went on to dismiss the rapper's claims as nothing more than a song created for entertainment purposes.
"It's a song, Donavan," Carney said at the conference."The President did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip."
Knowles and Jay-Z, the singer and rapper respectively, reportedly took an interest in visiting Cuba after attending the release of the film "JR & José Parlá: The Wrinkles of the City, Havana, Cuba," at Miami's Art Basel, according to blogger Necole Kane. The film and accompanying book highlights murals in Havana that reportedly caught Knowles and Jay-Z's interest.
While the famed pair were greeted by fans during their trip to Cuba, U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart asked Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, for more information about the couple's trip, according to Reuters reports. The two Republican members of Congress specifically asked the U.S. Treasury Department for "information regarding the type of license that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel," according to Reuters.
After claims that Jay-Z and Knowles' lack of clearance to enter Cuba on April 4 could lead to a fine and jail time, the rapper released his "Open Letter" track produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz Thursday.