April 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM ET
Rapper Jay-Z is using his art to respond to criticism about his and wife Beyonce's recent trip to Cuba on their fifth anniversary. The tune released Thursday, "Open Letter," includes lines such as "I done turned Havana to Atlanta" and "I'm in Cuba, I love Cubans. This Communist talk is so confusing when it's from China, the very mic that I'm using."
The song also includes lines that imply the White House had a hand in giving him and his wife the clearance to travel to Havana. For example: "Boy from the hood, but got White House clearance" and "Obama said, 'Chill, you gonna get me impeached.' "
During Thursday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney denied the song's suggestion that there was any White House involvement in Jay-Z and Beyonce's trip.
"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury, because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it," he said in response to a reporter's question. "The White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's personal -- anybody's travel to Cuba. ... The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip."
"Open Letter" is available online at LifeAndTimes.com. (Warning: The song is not for those with ears sensitive to curse words.)
On Tuesday, the Department of the Treasury confirmed that the superstar couple's trip to Cuba was sanctioned. "It is our understanding that the travelers in question traveled to Cuba pursuant to an educational exchange trip," the Treasury's assistant secretary for legislative affairs wrote.
While in Havana, the famous pair dined at La Guarida, walked through colonial Old Havana and took photos with schoolchildren.
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