Following his opinion editorial on the unjust sentence of Meek Mill and the prison system, Jay-Z returns with an exclusive interview with the New York newspaper where he sat down with executive editor Dean Baquet for a detailed 35-minute conversation.
Throughout the sit down, Jay-Z talks about his 4:44-LP cut, “The Story of OJ,” teaching his children compassion, being a black man in Trump’s America, Beyonce loving 4:44, signing Colin Kaepernick if he were an NFL team owner, and much more.
Read an excerpt from an interview below where he talks about his relationship with Kanye West.
BAQUET: So now I gotta ask my one gossipy question. Talk about Kanye West and your relationship with him, which you alluded to a little bit in the album. When’s the last time you talked to him?
JAY-Z: 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.
BAQUET: Why is it complicated?
JAY-Z: ‘Cause, 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.
BAQUET: But there’s tension now, right?
JAY-Z: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that happens. 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. 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. You know what I’m saying? These are — I’m not a perfect human being by no stretch. You know.
BAQUET: Is he as evolved as you?
JAY-Z: He’s highly evolved. No, he’s … I think he started out in a more compassionate position than me. You know what I’m saying. I don’t know if he’s had the level of — I mean, I had to survive by my instincts. I’m here because I grew up a different way. And I got out of that.
You know, my first album came out when I was 26. So I was already a different artist. You know, a lot of people’s album come out they’re 17, 18. So their subject matter is that of a 17- or 18-year-old. Unless you’re Nas, and you like, well-read14… — like, he was way more advanced with the album that he wrote. So I just grew up a different way. But [West is] a very compassionate person. And a lot of times he get in trouble trying to help others. So I can identify with it. It’s just that there’s certain things that happened that’s not really acceptable to me.
JAY-Z: And we just need to speak about it. But there’s genuine love there.