A Brief History of JAY-Z and Kanye West’s Deteriorating Bromance
Have you ever walked in the shadow of a giant?
What once seemed like a close relationship between JAY-Z and Kanye West appears to be falling apart, with JAY calling out Ye on his new 4:44 album and a possible pair of dueling lawsuits over the Tidal streaming service. Here’s a look back at some of the key moments between the Jay and Ye:
The first collaboration between Kanye West and JAY-Z’s is released in the form of the poignant West-produced track “This Can’t Be Life” from JAY’s 2000 album, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.
Kanye West produces four songs on JAY-Z’s The Blueprint, including “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” (the album’s first single) and the legendary diss track “Takeover.” Despite making his ambition to rap clear, Jay was reluctant to lose such a valuable producer.
Continuing to gain fame in the music industry as a producer, West contributes “A Dream” and Beyoncé collaboration “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” to JAY-Z’s The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse.
In West’s self-financed video for “Through The Wire,” the producer-rapper proudly showcased footage of his “Chaining Day” ceremony, where he received his first Roc-A-Fella chain.
On the song “Last Call,” from his debut album, The College Dropout, West recalls his first encounters with Jay-Z. The songs opens with Jay laughing as he says, “Yo, fuck you Kanye first and foremost for makin’ me do this shit.” During the 12:40 song Kanye calls himself “the most overlooked” and shows that he remembers every time a “dream killer” fronted on his rap skills.
Later that year, West provides “Encore” and “Lucifer” to JAY-Z’s The Black Album, which was said to be his last before retiring from putting out rap albums. At the start of “Lucifer” Jay exclaims “Kanyeezy you did it again, you a genius nigga!”
Kanye Drops his second hit album, Late Registration and speaks on the breakup of Rocafella co-founders Dame Dash and Jay-Z on his the song “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.” Jay hops on the remix and states “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”
West only produces one song, the album cut “Do U Wanna Ride,” on JAY’s official comeback album, Kingdom Come.
West reveals the dynamics of his relationship with JAY-Z through the album closer “Big Brother” off his full-length Graduation.
West lands five songs on Jay’s album The Blueprint 3, including the singles “Run This Town” and “Forever Young.”
Jay and Ye team up as The Throne and collaborate to create the smash album, Watch The Throne. After recording the 12-song set at the Mercer Hotel in New York, the pair tour the world together.
After Jay collabs with Justin Timberlake on “Suit & Tie,” Kanye disses the track during a show in London: “I got love for Hov but I ain’t fucking with that ‘Suit & Tie.'” Justin Timberlake addresses the matter during an SNL performance, changing his lyrics to “My hit’s so sick, got rappers acting dramatic.” Jay has never spoken on the matter publicly.
Jay and Kanye
compete collaborate at a Samsung-sponsored show at SXSW, performing joints from The Throne as well as their respective solo albums Magna Carta… Holy Grail and Yeezus. “Jay Z swaggered and West simmered,” a Billboard reviewer wrote, “looking at each other over across the audience-gulf that separated them.”
While Beck is receiving his Album of the Year award at the Grammys, Kanye runs up to the podium, then turns back at the last minute. After the show someone hands him a mic and of course Ye speaks his mind: “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé,” Kanye says, in a reprise of his defense of B after Taylor Swift won Video of the Year at the 2009 MTV VMAs. “At this point, we tired of it. Because what happens is that when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face…” Jay and Beyoncé did not comment publicly but they were said to be embarrassed.
At a solo show in Sacramento, West addresses JAY-Z and Beyoncé from the stage. West begins by calling out Beyoncé for allegedly refusing to perform at the MTV VMA’s unless she won the Video of the Year award over both him and Drake. “In my opinion,” West exclaims, “now, don’t go tryin’ to diss Beyoncé, she is great. Taylor Swift is great. We are all great people, we are all equal. But sometimes, we be playing the politics too much and forgetting who we are, just to win. Fuck winning! Fuck looking cool! Fuck looking cool! Fuck being cool! Fuck all that!”
West went on, “JAY-Z, call me, brah! You still ain’t call me. JAY-Z, call me. Aye brah, JAY-Z, I know you got killas, please don’t send ’em at my head, just call me. Talk to me like a man.”
Neither JAY-Z nor Beyoncé ever publicly replied to West. Two days after this event, West was taken to UCLA Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. H was reportedly treated for sleep deprivation and severe exhaustion.
On his album, 4:44, JAY-Z goes after Kanye West on the album’s opening track, “Kill Jay-Z” with the lyrics: “But you ain’t a saint, this ain’t Kumba ‘Ye/ But you got hurt ‘cause you did cool by Ye/ You gave him 20 million without blinking/ He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinking?/ ‘Fuck is wrong with everybody?’ is what you sayin’/ But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”
Two days after 4:44 is released, West reportedly files a lawsuit against TIDAL, the streaming service fronted by JAY-Z, over claims of unpaid royalties. West is also a co-owner of Tidal. It is said that Tidal is threatening to file a counter-suit in response.
And the saga continues… Stay tuned.