Madonna’s manager, Israeli-born Guy Oseary, has defended JAY-Z from accusations his lyrics are anti-Semitic.
The rapper sparked criticism from some in the Jewish community for lyrics from The Story of O.J., a song on his new album 4:44.
On the track he raps, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it/Financial freedom my only hope.”
The lyrics have drawn criticism for deploying the stereotype that Jewish people are always wealthy, but Israeli-American talent manager Oseary says that although on its own the remark may be offensive, the way Jay uses it in the song is not.
“If you read the lyrics out of context I can understand why people are jumping to that conclusion,” he tells Variety. “But if you listen to the song in its entirety you will hear that the whole of the song is based on exaggerated stereotypes to make a point.”
The music impresario, who also manages U2, also notes that Jay uses African-American stereotypes in the song, which admonishes people within his own community for making poor financial decisions.
Oseary adds, “Yes, the ‘rich Jew,’ the ‘business Jew,’ the ‘Jew that owns the world’ is a stereotype which has been repeatedly used with the wrong sentiment. Meant only to harm the Jewish people.”
But he contends that Jay was “attempting to use the Jewish people in an exaggerated way to showcase a community of people that are thought to have made wise business decisions. As an example of what is possible and achievable.”
Oseary concludes, “I’m not offended by these lyrics. I hear them the way he intended them to be heard.”
Jay has previously spoken out against anti-Semitism, joining Russell Simmons in a 2007 public service announcement condemning prejudice towards Jews.
4:44 has hit the headlines since its release on Friday (30Jun17), with lyrical references to Jay’s relationship with his wife Beyonce on several confessional tracks apparently confirming rumours he was unfaithful to her.