Rapper Lupe Fiasco says will quit music after flap over anti-Semitic lyrics

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Rapper Lupe Fiasco announced he would cancel the album he is working on and stop releasing new music after he was accused of anti-Semitism for referencing “dirty Jewish execs” in a newly released freestyle rap.

The lyrics for the song titled “N.E.R.D.” include: “Artists gettin’ robbed for their publishing / By dirty Jewish execs who think that it’s alms from the covenant.”

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the lyrics in a statement released on Tuesday.

“The lyrics about artists being robbed by ‘dirty Jewish execs’ are offensive,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “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.’ Even if Lupe Fiasco has concerns about exploitation of his artistic output, it’s deplorable to stigmatize an entire group in response.”


Greenblatt also said: “Fiasco has a well-earned reputation as a highly respected hip-hop artist.  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 spent hours on Twitter from Tuesday night debating with fans whether the lyrics were anti-Semitic, finally declaring in a tweet on Wednesday: “I get the hint God. Yo Lupe fans it’s been fun and I hope you’ve had fun. I’m officially not releasing anymore music. Albums cancelled”

He also tweeted that: “Getting beat up for telling the truth is not how I plan on spending the rest of life.”

In the tweets, Fiasco defended calling out Jewish executives, saying the ones that cheated him were in fact Jewish. He also asserted that he studied the Torah and visited Auschwitz, proving he is not anti-Semitic. Later he debated via Twitter with ADL’s Greenblatt.

Fiasco previously announced in 2012 that he would retire. He also was due to release three albums this year and has delayed the release of all of them.