'We Always Gonna Be Good': Jay-Z Discusses His Relationship With Kanye West In New Interview
In a new interview with the New York Times’ T magazine, Jay-Z speaks on creating his critically-acclaimed thirteenth album 4:44, Donald Trump‘s presidency, rap being a “young man’s sport,” his adolescence, and so much more.
Speaking with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, Jay-Z also discusses his relationship with Kanye West which, in recent years, has been perceived as awry.
“It’s a complicated relationship with us,” Jay-Z said. “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…But it’s gonna, we gonna always be good.”
“In the long relationship, you know, hopefully when we’re 89 we look at this six months or whatever time and we laugh at that,” the artist continued. “There’s gonna be complications in the relationship that we have to get through… I’m sure he feels that I’ve done things to him as well.”
Jay-Z also discusses creating such a personal album alongside wife Beyonce, with his 4:44 being a foil to her very own personal album Lemonade.
“…we were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together,” Jay-Z said. “…it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations…You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is like 50 percent or something ;cause most people can’t see themselves. The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.”
Below are other talking points discussed throughout the interview. You can read it in its entirety here.
Jay-Z on going into therapy:
I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a … you’re at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone’s racist toward you, it ain’t about you. It’s about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand.
And once I understand that, instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, “Aw, man, is you O.K.?” I was just saying there was a lot of fights in our neighborhood that started with “What you looking at? Why you looking at me? You looking at me?” And then you realize: “Oh, you think I see you. You’re in this space where you’re hurting, and you think I see you, so you don’t want me to look at you. And you don’t want me to see you.”
Jay-Z on Obama:
…all he could do was the best he can do. He’s not a superhero. And it’s unfair to place unfulfillable expectations on this man just because of his color. You’re actually doing the opposite. It’s like, what do you think is gonna happen? He’s there for eight years. And he has to undo what 43 presidents have done. In eight years. That’s not fair.
Jay-Z on writing “Smile” and his mother being gay:
I didn’t have permission to do that song first. It’s just like we had a beautiful conversation. But we never spoke about it. Until, like, recently, now we start having these beautiful conversations, and just really getting to know each other. We were always good friends but now we’re really great friends. You know. And we were just talking as friends. And then she was sharing that she was in love. She can be herself [now]. She doesn’t have to hide for her kids or feel like she’s embarrassing her kids. It was a much different time then. [Now] she can just live her full life, her whole life, and be her.