“What’s up with you and Jay man? Are y’all okay man?” The Kanye West line on “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”, the smash single from the 2005 Late Registration album might be more relevant today more than it was 11 years ago. It seems like what started out to be a passing of the torch, might turn into Tommy “Machine” Gunn vs Rocky Balboa, a al Rocky V. Kanye has been very vocal on issues ranging from the 2016 Presidential Election, to operation of Tidal, and seemingly with every word said, there’s something aimed at Jay Z, the one whom he referred to as his “Big Brother” when closing out the Graduation album back in 2007.
At his recent Sacramento show, Kanye pled to Jay “I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Please call me.” Seems like that Ye knows for a fact that Jay Z hasn’t been pleased with many of his rants as of late. He also alluded to the fact that Beyonce’s performance at the VMA’s only came after she was assured that she would win Video of the Year over West’s “Famous” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” During a recent concert in San Jose, Kanye let the crowd know that although he didn’t vote, he was behind, now President-elect, Donald Trump. Seems like that may be another wedge being driven between he and Jay, who pledged support for Hillary Clinton, and did a joint appearance with his wife Beyonce prior to the election. However small it may be, it just highlights the differences between two individuals who seemed to be so close.
During a concert in Seattle back in October, Yeezy voiced his displeasure with the “Tidal/Apple bullshit” that killed the duo’s appearance on Drake’s single “Pop Style”,” and that there would NEVER be a Watch The Throne 2. Kanye let it be known that Hov didn’t want to appear on the track out of respect for Meek Mill, who has a management relationship with Roc Nation. He also expressed frustrations that their children have never played together, and that Jay & Bey should have come to the house rather than calling to check on he and Kim after Kardashian was robbed in Paris earlier that month.
While Jay Z hasn’t publicly said anything regarding any of West’s outbursts, those close to him have been voicing their frustrations.
Politics aside, this rift could cause a redirection in the course of history for both artists. Jay Z, mentioned among the all-time greats in hip-hop, saw a resurgence in his career with The Blueprint, which featured 5 tracks produced by West; one being the hit-single “I.Z.Z.O.” and the gritty diss-track “Takeover” aimed at Mobb Deep and Nas. The two have partnered on countless tracks, and some say that Kanye provided the groundwork for Jay’s prevalence over the last 15 years, all while rising to prominence as a producer and as a rapper. Kanye proclaimed his presence on “Last Call” from The College Dropout, which opened with words from Jay Z, something the rapper seemingly doesn’t do. The last track on the album pledged his allegiance to Roc-A-Fella Records and the man who gave him a shot in the industry. Kanye blossomed under the tutelage of Jay, growing into one of the best-selling hip-hop artists of all-time, with 21 million albums sold, and another 66 million digital downloads.
It can be said that the pair could not be where they are as artists right now, but where could they be apart? With Jay Z approaching 47 in December, there hasn’t been any mention of new music coming from the hip-hop veteran, outside of his recent appearances on “Drug Dealers Anonymous,” a possible single from Pusha T on the widely anticipated album King Push, and the DJ Khaled release “I Got The Keys” on the album Major Key. Jay has been busy with Tidal, Roc Nation, Roc Nation Sports, acquiring Armand de Brigand champagne, as well as investing in JetSmarter. Music hasn’t necessarily been the focus for the artist turned business mogul. Meanwhile, Kanye has talked about his passion for music, putting emphasis on building out his label, G.O.O.D. Music, as well as potentially putting out multiple albums over the next year. Both have cemented legacies when it comes to hip-hop, but could the relationship strain tarnish what the pair has built? We’ll have to wait and see if Jay’s sentiments to the questions posed on the “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” have changed at all.