Florida Lawmakers Spar Over Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” Lyrics

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

From Marcy to Madison Square, to the Florida House of Representatives? Jay-Z’s lyrics have always been something of a pop culture behemoth but now, they’re foundation for lawmakers. During a Wednesday hearing at the Florida House of Representatives, Representative Alan B. Williams (Democrat-Tallahassee) pulled from Jay’s “99 Problems” while debating the amendment over heresay evidence.

“You think about a wise businessman…he knows his rights… Jay-Z said it best, ‘I know my rights, so you gonna need a warrant for that.’” The politico goes further to quote, “Aren’t you sharp as a tack/You a lawyer or something?” and then closes with, “If you support Jay-Z, support this amendment.”

Dean Cannon (Republican-Winter Park), jumped in, crying misquote. “I must respectfully disagree…In that song it was the officer who said, ‘Aren’t you sharp as a tack?’ not the lawyer” which got plenty of laughs from the audience. “I’m not sure Jay-Z would support this amendment,” he added in as a final kicker.

Actually, both men were partially wrong. The cop did ask the question in the song, per Cannon, but Williams’ lyrics were right:

Cop: Do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?
Jay-Z: Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back, And I know my rights so you gonna need a warrant for that.
Cop: Aren’t you sharp as a tack? You some type of lawyer or something, Somebody important or something?

Williams, vindicated by the correction (Who wants to be sonned by the opposing party on a Jay-Z lyric?) shared on Twitter, “I have been vindicated RT 2 FL state reps debate over the lyrics to Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems” and linked to an article by the Washington Free Beacon.