The lyrics in question: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit/ You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America?”
Since releasing his 13th studio album, 4:44 last week, Jay-Z has already fallen prey to a number of think pieces and critiques. He was most recently accused of using anti-Semitic language in his single, “The Story of O.J.” And in addition to a number of disappointed fans on social media, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has come forward Thursday afternoon to voice their biggest concern about the song’s message.
On the song in question, Hov raps: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit/ You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America?”
In a statement released to Rolling Stone, the ADL suggested the line, while not completely malicious, could be perpetuating stereotypes about the Jewish community. “Such notions have lingered in society for decades, and we are concerned that this lyric could feed into preconceived notions about Jews and alleged Jewish ‘control’ of the banks and finance,” the organization said.
Following earlier criticism of the same line, a number of musicians and influencers, including U2 and Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, stepped in to defend Jay-Z’s lyrical integrity and artistry on social media. Russell Simmons also spoke on Jay-Z’s behalf on Twitter on Tuesday, calling those against the rapper “mischief makers.”
Jay-Z has yet to comment on the song’s criticism, but that’s probably because he’s still enjoying his spot on top. Despite the harsh reviews, he has received tons of support for his latest studio album — so much so that within only five days of its release, the RIAA confirmed 4:44 had gone platinum.
This article first appeared on Vibe.com.