Anti-Defamation League CEO Calls Lupe Fiasco 'N.E.R.D.' Lyrics 'Offensive' & 'Anti-Semitic'

Lupe Fiasco in 2016
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Lupe Fiasco performs while wearing a Detroit Tigers Baseball jersey at St. Andrews Hall on April 25, 2016 in Detroit.

The Anti-Defamation League has called out Lupe Fiasco for certain lyrics in his recent freestyle "N.E.R.D." The organization's CEO, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, issued a statement Wednesday (Dec. 14) responding to specific lines in the track -- "Artists getting robbed for their publishing/ By dirty Jewish execs who think that it’s alms from the covenant" -- deeming them "anti-Semitic" and "offensive."

“The lyrics about artists being robbed by ‘dirty Jewish execs’ are offensive," Greenblatt said. "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.'"

The statement continues: "Even if Lupe Fiasco has concerns about exploitation of his artistic output, it’s deplorable to stigmatize an entire group in response. 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."

The "N.E.R.D." freestyle -- which borrowed the beat from J. Cole's "Everybody Dies" -- was also removed from SoundCloud for "hate speech," according to a tweet from Fiasco. The Chicago rhymer took to his Twitter timeline Tuesday, saying he would no longer be releasing new music and canceled the planned releases for his albums Drogas, Skulls and Roy.

"Sooooo @SoundCloud took the NERD freestyle down because of 'Hate Speech'??? I'm done," he tweeted. "Getting beat up for telling the truth is not how I plan on spending the rest of life. 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 then called out specific execs in a series of tweets the following day. "I've been labeled, stamped, called and accused of being everything under the sun... But never a liar," he typed. "Lyon Cohen [sic] told me he may not honor the terms of an existing contract unless i signed a contract which changed the terms of the existing one ... Craig Kallman once negotiated a deal in secret which said I agreed to give away 85% of my pub rights to the song Airplanes to his producers."

Fiasco also responded to one Twitter user who asked, "Why has no one gotten at Atlantic for this nonsense yet man????" He responded, "Because the Jewish lawyer I hired to get me off Atlantic, was more interested in taking 5% of everything I did. He sent a bill for 100k ... Which represented 5% of the concerts I did while I had him on retainer. CONCERTS WHICH HE NEVER HANDLE CONTRACTS FOR ... He said 'what are you gonna do sue me? I'm a lawyer I'll win' he then felt so guilty he offered me 10% of my own money back."

Billboard reached out to Fiasco's rep for additional comment. 


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.