Rapper sparks anti-Semitism outcry with Rothschild, ‘synagogue of Satan’ lyrics

Jay Electronica says he stands behind ‘every single word’ in new album, despite criticism from Jewish radio personality, others

US rapper Jay Electronica performs on stage on Day 2 of the 2018 Governors Ball Music Festival on June 2, 2018, in New York City.  (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images via JTA)
US rapper Jay Electronica performs on stage on Day 2 of the 2018 Governors Ball Music Festival on June 2, 2018, in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — US rapper and producer Jay Electronica — a friend of Louis Farrakhan — released his debut album on Friday and it’s already causing controversy.

On the “Ghost of Soulja Slim” track, about a late rapper friend, Electronica raps in the second verse:

And I bet you a Rothschild I get a bang for my dollar
The synagogue of Satan want me to hang by my collar.

Peter Rosenberg, a Jewish radio personality who appears on multiple rap and sports shows, took issue with the lines. At first he tweeted about a different reference Electronica made to the “synagogue of Satan,” one of multiple phrases from the New Testament that has prompted theological debate throughout history. Rosenberg said the phrase made him uncomfortable.

But then Rosenberg corrected his mistake, saying he meant to discuss Electronica’s more recent use of the line, showing in the process that Electronica has used the term more than once.

Rosenberg didn’t comment on the Rothschild line, even though the prominent European Jewish banking family is referenced in a number of the more well-known international anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

But the Rothschild name check also could be an allusion to a past rumored romance between Electronica and Kate Rothschild, a member of the family who had a business relationship with the rapper.

The song also begins with audio from a speech by Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam who has called Jews “satanic” (among other things) in the past. Electronica is a longtime member of the Nation of Islam, and he and Farrakhan are close — despite the fact that his raps are full of profanity, which is shunned by the Nation. Farrakhan has defended Electronica’s profanity in the past.

Jay-Z, who earned some words of caution from the Anti-Defamation League for one of his own rap lines in 2017, is featured on the track and heavily throughout the album titled “A Written Testimony.”

In a series of heated tweets to Rosenberg, Electronica said he stands behind “every single word” on the album. Electronica challenged Rosenberg to a public forum of sorts with theological scholars, then Rosenberg invited him onto his morning show — but the beef seemed to end there.

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