Jay-Z responds to criticism over Cuba trip in new song

    8:41 AM, Apr 12, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CBS) -- In the world of rap music, the best way to respond to critics is to put it in rhyme. That's exactly what Jay-Z is doing this morning. He's answering the controversy over a trip to Cuba in verse.

    In his new song, "Open Letter" released Thursday, rapper Jay-Z weighed in on his and wife Beyonce's recent travels to Cuba.

    The couple has faced criticism for their trip. Americans are not allowed to travel to the island except for educational or cultural purposes.

    Though Jay-Z and Beyonce were given license to go to Cuba, some in the Cuban American community remain sensitive to shedding a positive light on the communist regime.

    U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida says, "I think it sends a message to other people that wow if that trip is considered people to people and an educational and cultural exchange then basically anything goes if you have the right connections I guess."

    The new song seems to suggest that those connections extend all the way to the president. Jay-Z and Beyonce have long been Obama supporters.

    The rapper introduced the president at a rally in Columbus Ohio the day before last year's election. And Beyonce performed at the inauguration in January.

    But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted Thursday that the president had nothing to do with the trip. Carney says, "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. I am absolutely saying the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's personal, anybody's travel to Cuba. That is something that Treasury handles."

    The lyrics, perhaps, are merely an example of poetic license and not the first time Jay-Z has rapped about Cuba.

    In an email to CBS News, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed that it was the department of treasury that cleared the trip, and that no special consideration was asked for or given.

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