ADL Condemns 'Offensive Lyrics' in New Track by Lupe Fiasco

Rapper responds with series of tweets about visiting Auschwitz, his friendships with Jews and 'sway[ing] to the songs of Roshanna.'

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Rapper Lupe Fiasco throwing a ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game last September.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco throwing a ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game last September.Credit: Nam Y. Huh/אי־פי

The Anti-Defamation League has condemned what it says are anti-Semitic lyrics in a newly released song by rapper Lupe Fiasco, the Rolling Stone website reported.

The song, “N.E.R.D.,” includes the words, “Artists getting robbed for their publishing by dirty Jewish execs who think that it’s alms from the covenant.”

“The lyrics about artists being robbed by ‘dirty Jewish execs’ are offensive,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on Wednesday. “These lyrics reinforce the anti-Semitic myth of Jewish control of the music industry, a stereotype that has been exploited in recent years by well-known hatemongers."

"It is irresponsible for a recording artist to perpetuate the hateful anti-Semitic stereotype of the ‘greedy Jew,’" Greenblatt continued. "Even if Lupe Fiasco has concerns about exploitation of his artistic output, it’s deplorable to stigmatize an entire group in response At a time when there are significant divisions across the country, we are disappointed that he has not chosen to use his platform and voice to promote a more inclusive message."

Fiasco responded on Twitter that, "I didn't called them dirty becuz they were Jewish I called them dirty becuz their [sic] horrible fucking human beings." 

Fiasco released "N.E.R.D." on the online audio distribution platform SoundCloud on Monday. After several indignant posts on Twitter, he responded with a series of tweets discussing racism, his relationships with "Jewish friends," his respect for the faith and his reasoning for specifying that the "execs" in the lyrics were Jewish.

"I've walked inside the ovens of Auschwitz," he wrote. "I've been inside the dorms where workers starved to death to [sic] frail to move. I've seen the showers & the rail cars where millions died. I've been in the Ghettos of Warsaw.

"Ive seen [systemic] genocide. I've studied the Hebrew bible. And the stories of the Maccabees and the traditions of old Judea. I've swayed to the songs of Roshanna & eaten pomegranate seeds and Kibbeh with beets with Israelis who can't fly on Emirates. I've sat in fellowships & watched Israeli Jews accuse American Jews of being not really Jewish becuz they wont live in Israel."

On Tuesday, after claiming that SoundCloud had taken down "N.E.R.D." because of its lyrics, he announced that he was quitting the music industry. "I get the hint God," he wrote. "Yo Lupe fans it's been fun and I hope you've had fun. I'm officially not releasing anymore music. Albums cancelled."

A spokesperson for SoundCloud told Rolling Stone that "Lupe Fiasco's track 'N.E.R.D' has not been removed."

Past ADL surveys of anti-Semitic attitudes in America have shown that the notion of Jewish control of Hollywood and the music industry is a pervasive stereotype. In a 2013 poll, ADL found that 18 percent of Americans believe that Jews have too much influence over the American news media, and 24 percent agree that the movie and television industries are “pretty much run by Jews.”

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