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Straight Outta Kalorama: How Rap Lyrics Explain Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Speech

Want to decipher the presidential adviser’s thinking on Israel and Palestine? Better call in Jay-Z, Biggie, and Nas.

Liel Leibovitz
August 02, 2017

When I read the transcript of Jared Kushner’s remarks to congressional interns, all I could think about was Rap Genius. The presidential adviser—and son-in-law—was so cryptic and convoluted in his comments about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that I felt as if I needed help unlocking the true meaning behind his words, just as the popular site does for hip-hop songs. So how do you explain Jared’s words? Naturally, with rap lyrics, which, unlike Kushnerese, is a language Americans actually speak. Here, then, is what Jared said and what it actually means, courtesy of Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas and others. Explicit language ahead:

When Jared Said:

I have tried to look at why people haven’t been successful in the negotiations, so I looked and studied all the different negotiations. I spoke to a lot of people who have have been part of them, and I think the reason why is that this is a very emotionally charged situation. Look at what happened this past 10 days—a lot of seemingly logical measures taken on the different [unintelligible] part somehow became a little bit incendiary. But we were able to calm it down by having a lot of really great dialog between Jordan and the Palestinian authority and the Israelis.

It’s like when Drake said:

Caught up in the game and it’s one I can’t postpone
Meaning if it rains I’m the one it’s raining on
When my diamond chain is on still nothing set in stone
Women borrow sweaters that I spray with my cologne
And tell me don’t forget ’em and I promise that I won’t
Feelin’ so distant from everyone I’ve known
To make everybody happy I think I would need a clone
Places we get flown, parties that we’ve thrown
I’ve done more for this city then these rappers that have blown
It’s only been three years look at how I’ve grown
I’m just in my zone, I call this s*** the calm
Yea, but I’m the furthest thing from calm

When Jared said:

We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation. That was one thing that we achieved, which we were quite happy about—which is, you know, small thing, but it’s actually a pretty big thing over there. But something that we thought was a pretty big step.

It’s like when Biggie said:

I love it when you call me big poppa
Throw your hands in the air, if you’se a true player

When Jared said:

And then I think one of the Palestinians’ religious leaders was saying, “If you go through the metal detectors, then your prayers don’t count.” And that is not a very helpful thing to have said. And then there was a lot of rage.

It’s like when Jay-Z said:

I tried to ignore him and talk to the Lord
Pray for him, cause some fools just love to perform
You know the type, loud as a motor bike
But wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight

When Jared said:

My point is that these things are very, very combustible and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out [unintelligible]. But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen.

It’s like when Nas said:

Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we get high
Cause you never know when you’re gonna go
Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we puff lye
Cause you never know when you’re gonna go

When Jared said:

So, what do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know…

It’s like when Eazy-E said:

Cuz the boyz n tha hood are always hard
You come talkin’ that trash we’ll pull your card
Knowin nothin’ in life but to be legit
Don’t quote me boy, cuz i ain’t said shit

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.