NEW YORK — Braggadocio has long been a staple of rapper Jay-Z’s signature style, but he never thought he would be the envy of a top-secret government agency. With the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z accomplished what the NSA could only dream of. Last week, the rap mogul tapped into the private data of nearly one million Samsung phones and tablets in exchange for a free download of his latest album.
The album was offered several days in advance of its July 9th general release via an Android app that required access to users’ location, phone calls, social media, and more.
“I can’t believe we didn’t think of that,” said a source from the NSA, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Everybody loves Jay-Z. Sure, it’s totally uncool for a government agency to spy on you, but a rapper? That will give us instant street cred.”
When asked who approached whom, Jay-Z admitted that his original intention was to work with NWA, the seminal 80’s rap group from Compton, but his assistant gave him the wrong phone number. “I wanted to get NWA in the studio, but I ended up on the phone with the NSA instead. They heard about my project with Samsung, and they wanted to work with me.”
Although he is unsure how much the NSA can contribute musically, the rapper said he looks forward to the opportunity to reach so many fans. “My music is all about connecting with the people, and the NSA has proven they know more about the people than anybody I’ve ever worked with.”
The album, tentatively titled Watch the Phone, does not yet have a release date, but both sides agree that the record’s first single—a “diss track” aimed at Edward Snowden—could be ready by the holiday season. “If there’s one thing the NSA and hip-hop have in common, it’s that we all hate snitches,” said the rapper.