Jay-Z Clarifies The ‘Water To A Whale’ Line From His 2001 Cut ‘U Don’t Know’

Following Arby’s and Pusha T’s scathing diss track toward McDonald’s Filet O’ Fish sandwich, fans are questioning a line from Jay-Z’s Blueprint cut “U Don’t Know.” On “Spicy Fish Diss Track,” Push proclaims, “I could sell water to a whale,” directly referencing “U Don’t Know.” Although the song’s lyric video confirms Push says “whale,” the clip has left fans asking if Jay originally says “I’m a hustler baby, I sell water to a whale,” or “sell water to a well.”

Hip-hop journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy reached out to Just Blaze, who produced “U Don’t Know,” for clarification. Blaze asked Jay, who kept it open to interpretation, saying it could be either “well” or “whale.”

“Haaaa!!!! Well/whale,” said Jay, by way of a text message from Blaze. “It’s never a coincidence when these things happen. I try to make things work on multiple levels every time I sit down to create. It keeps me engaged.”

Push and Arby’s diss track follows the “Diet Coke” rapper’s claims that he wrote McDonald’s iconic “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, alongside his brother and fellow Clipse member No Malice, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams. Push was apparently paid a one-time fee for his contributions and has not been paid any royalties for the almost two decades McDonald’s has been using the jingle.

“I did it at a very young age at a very young time in my career where I wasn’t asking for as much money and ownership,” Push told Rolling Stone. “It’s something that’s always dug at me later in life like, ‘Dammit, I was a part of this and I should have more stake.’ It was like half a million or a million dollars for me and my brother — but that’s peanuts for as long as that’s been running.”