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Jay-Z-Quoting Lawmaker Defends Vote And Hip-Hop Cred, “I Did Get It Right”

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The Florida state legislator who entered Jay-Z‘s ”99 Problems” lyrics into a debate about a bill concerning search and seizure, has offered some insight into the failed amendment and the lyrical jousting between lawmakers. 

“The debate we were having was about the evidence obtained from a warrantless search of cellular devices and what would be considered unlawful search,” Rep. Alan B. Williams (D-Talahassee) told CBS Local. “That’s why I connected it to Jay-Z’s lyrics. It was just like what Jay-Z was talking about when he said, ‘I know my rights you’re going to need a warrant for that.’”

After Williams quoted Jay-Z’s lyrics during the discussion period, he called on House members to vote in favor of the amendment: “If you support Jay-Z, support this amendment.”

The creative use of the rapper’s lyrics sparked a playful exchange between Williams and Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park), who opposed the amendment. In an unexpected rebuttal, Cannon offered a correction of Williams’ characterization of Jigga’s lyrics.

“I must respectfully disagree, with a correction,” Cannon replied. “In the song, it was the officer who said, ‘Aren’t you sharp as a tack?’ or something. ‘You should try for lawyer or something,’ so I got you on that. It’s an unspoken rule…, if you’re going to invoke Jay-Z, you must get the lyrics correct. I’m not sure Jay-Z would not support this amendment.”

The video of the exchange went viral, with most taking note of Cannon’s lyric-checking smack down. In a tweet that was heavily “favorited” and liberally “retweeted,” Steve Stoute (@SteveStoute)–a longtime business partner of Jay-Z–weighed in on the topic.

“# tanning!!!! Florida Republican corrects Democrat’s Jay-Z reference on the FL House of Representatives…”

Despite early reactions, such as Stoute’s, that described Williams as being schooled by the GOP Speaker, the lawmaker stands by his original quote.

“I did get it right,” he said. “But some people said he [Speaker Cannon] did because the Speaker had the mic, so the Speaker had the last word.”

Cannon’s response may have surprised those who watched the video, but Williams said he was not blind-sided by the attack on his use of “99 Problems” as Exhibit A.

“I knew he [Cannon] knew about Jay-Z because he was a radio DJ in college,” Williams said. “He listens to a wide range of music.”

While the amendment he was arguing for failed, Williams said the Jay-Z lyrical debate achieved his desired intent.

“We’re in the last days of the special sessions and we try to get a little light-hearted because it gets heated,” Williams said. “When you’re dealing with so many serious issues in the day, there are a few opportunities to bring some levity to the debate to calm things down. What I did and the speaker did in his response accomplished that.”  –Erik Parker, CBS Local

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