The New York Times pick Jay-Z's brain for their holiday issue.
Even though his forty-eighth birthday is coming up soon (December 4th), the legendary Jay-Z shows no signs of slowing down. Earlier this year, Jay delivered one of his most personal albums ever in 4:44, addressing his family, his infidelity, and his redemption. Later, he kicked off the 4:44 tour, hitting thirty-one North American dates (barring a few cancellations) and killing the stage with a veteran's poise. Yesterday, it was announced that he had earned himself eight Grammy nominations, including one for Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Best Rap Album and more.
Suffice it to say, Jay-Z has transcended the scope of an artist, and evolved into his final form: an icon. Today, New York Times has decided to pay homage, and the esteemed publication has decided to showcase the Jigga Man for their 2017 Holiday Issue. For the extensive feature, they teamed up with artists Henry Taylor and Blum & Poe. You can check out the entire thirty-five minute interview below (with executive editor Den Baquet), as well as some of the content, including a bit of insight into his current 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.
It should be an engaging read for Jay-Z fans, especially as the rapper has been dropping more wisdom than usual. He recently penned an Op-Ed in the New York Times, in which he spoke about the criminal justice system, the incarceration of Meek Mill, and more. Perhaps Jay will be moving into a more political direction as he gets older; he's certainly respected enough, and rich as hell. Who knows? In the mean time, check out the interview in full, courtesy of the New York Times.