JAY-Z Speaks on His “Complicated Relationship” with Kanye

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Last October, the throne came crashing down when Kanye publicly expressed his frustrations with JAY-Z onstage at his concert in Sacramento. Everyone has been anxiously awaiting their reconciliation ever since. In a recently released interview with Dean Baquet of The New York Times, JAY-Z was remarkably straightforward about his tumultuous friendship with Ye.

It’s no secret that the things Ye has said in the past didn’t sit too well with Jay. He fired back in his song “Kill JAY-Z.”

“You walkin’ around like you invincible
You dropped outta school, you lost your principles
I know people backstab you, I felt bad too
But this ‘fuck everybody’ attitude ain’t natural
But you ain’t a Saint, this ain’t KumbaYe
But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin’
He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’?
“Fuck wrong with everybody?” is what you sayin’
But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane”

Despite everything that’s gone down, Jay seems optimistic about what the future holds for his complicated relationship with Ye.

“I talked to Kanye the other day, just to tell him, like, he’s my brother. I love Kanye. I do. It’s a complicated relationship with us,” says Jay. “You know Kanye came into this business on my label. So I’ve always been like his big brother. And we’re both entertainers. It’s always been like a little underlying competition with your big brother. And we both love and respect each other’s art, too. So it’s like, we both—everyone wants to be the greatest in the world. You know what I’m saying? And then there’s like a lot of other factors that play in it. But it’s gonna—we gonna always be good.”

Jay revealed that the underlying business relationship gives their friendship a tad more complexity—and that some things Kanye did were just too much, like bringing his family into the drama.

“Hopefully when we’re 89 we look at this six months or whatever time later and laugh at that. You know what I’m saying? There’s gonna be complications in the relationship that we have to get through. And the only way to get through that is we sit down and have a dialogue and say, ‘These are the things that I’m uncomfortable with. These are the things that are unacceptable to me. This is what I feel.’ I’m sure he feels that I’ve done things to him as well,” JAY-Z explained.

While addressing the feud with Kanye was a big highlight of the interview, JAY also touched on a wide range of topics—from his marriage to being black in America, and getting in touch with his own emotions. “The strongest thing a man can do is cry,” he said. “To expose your feelings, to be vulnerable in front of the world. That’s real strength. You know, you feel like you gotta be this guarded person. That’s not real. It’s fake.”

Confirming speculations that he and Beyoncé worked on the music for Lemonade and 4:44 the same time, he revealed that it was initially going to be a joint album. Jay says that making this music together was therapeutic, hinting that there are some unreleased tracks from this time of them recording together.

When speaking on race debate in America, he acknowledges having Trump in office now forces us to have this uncomfortable dialogue that was once avoided. Jay even drops a Kanye line from Kanye’s 2004 track, “Never Let Me Down” to back up his point: “There was a great Kanye West line in one of his songs. ‘Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin’ it.’ The great thing about Donald Trump being president is now we’re forced to have the dialogue. Now we’re having the conversation on the large scale. He’s provided the platform for us to have the conversation.”

Check out the rest of the extensive interview here.