By Kyle Anderson
April 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM EDT
Sandra Mu/Getty Images

Some businessmen issue press releases when their names show up in controversial headlines. Jay-Z, on the other hand, just calls some friends and drops a sonic note on Soundcloud.

In light of the recent chatter surrounding his sports agency ventures, Roc Nation’s recently-announced deal with Universal, and his vacation in Cuba, Jay-Z recorded and dropped the new track “Open Letter.” Produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, the brief tune showed up on Jigga’s Life + Times website last night.

“Wanna give me jail time and a fine/ Fine, let me commit a real crime,” Jay raps on the song, shouting down those politicians questioning the legality of Jay’s island getaway to the communist country. Give the track a spin below.

What’s your favorite line? I cackled at his use of the word “dweeb” (which doesn’t get enough traction in hip-hop parlance), followed by the line “I still own the building/I’m still keeping my seats/Y’all buy that bulls—/ Y’all better keep your receipts” (in reference to the news that he will be selling his tiny share of the Brooklyn Nets franchise in order to sign basketball players to his sports agency — league rules would otherwise consider it a conflict of interest).

“Open Letter” is a great reminder that Jay would still rather settle his beefs on the microphone than in the boardroom (or on Twitter). Still, this is a kinder, gentler, more business-minded Jay-Z, and “Open Letter” lacks much of the razor-tongued bile that oozed from some of his best battle tracks in the past (like the Kanye West-produced anti-Nas tune “Takeover,” for example).

Considering he has a tour coming up with Justin Timberlake and he has been in the studio recently with two of the biggest names in hip-hop production, could this be a sign that a new Jay-Z solo album is on the horizon — his first since 2009’s The Blueprint 3? It’s a distinct possibility, but like the Illuminati figures he regularly nods to, Jay’s moves are riddles wrapped in enigmas. And besides, he stands to cash much bigger checks renegotiating Robinson Cano’s new baseball contract, promoting his Great Gatsby soundtrack, and overseeing the Made In America festival anyway.


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