Meek Mill‘s new album Championships contains a song called “What’s Free,” which features Jay-Z and Rick Ross and flips the Biggie classic “What’s Beef” to be about what it means for a black man to be free in America. Alas, the world so far has mostly been focused on the beef.
No red hat, don’t Michael and Prince me and Ye
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince’s DNA, uh
I ain’t one of these house niggas you bought
My house like a resort, my house bigger than yours
My spou- (C’mon, man)
Per Vulture’s reading (and others like Pitchfork, Newsweek and Cosmopolitan), Jay “denounces Kanye for glorifying the MAGA hat and calls his former friend and “brother” a house slave for blindly supporting Trump.” As others have pointed out, though, Jay is rather doing the opposite: chiding people—or perhaps Trump directly himself—for using Kanye’s recent waywardness to force a wedge in between the two of them. (Though, certainly, you could understand why they might.) At the beginning of the section, Jay does clearly separate himself from Kanye—”no red hat”—but the rest of it addresses Trump and the few black people willing to work for him.
Jay himself felt compelled enough by the misreadings to tweet for the first time in a year and a half.
The line clearly meant don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are (red hat) now go pick up Meek album . Drake and Meek on there together .
— Mr. Carter (@sc) November 30, 2018