Jay admitted to the long-rumored collaborative effort with his wife in an in-depth interview with The NY Times.
Throughout the lengthy sit-down with Executive Editor Dean Baquet, the two spoke on racial identity, his time spent in therapy, and “how he could possibly raise socially aware children who shuttled between mansions” among other topics.
They began recording the album together, as a form of therapy, during Beyoncé’s Lemonade sessions. “We were using our art almost like a therapy session,” he says. “And we started making music together. And then the music she was making at that time was further along. So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on. Um, we still have a lot of that music. And this is what it became.”
Jay also touched on his “complicated” relationship with Kanye West.
“I love Kanye. I do. It’s a complicated relationship with us,” he says. “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 we gonna always be good.”
The leading nominee of the 2018 GRAMMYs is featured in the December 3rd Holiday issue of The New York Times Style Magazine, or simply The T. The entire, 35-minute interview can be seen below and read at NYT.
“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.'”
Current tension with Kanye…
“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.”
On listening to the music with Beyoncé…
“Very, very uncomfortable, but […] the best place in the hurricane is like in the middle of it. We were sitting in the eye of that hurricane. Uh, maybe not use hurricane because so many people are being affected right now. But the best place is right in the middle of the pain.
“And that’s where we were sitting. And it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations. You know. I was really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another’s craft. I think she’s amazing.
“You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is like 50 percent or something because 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.”