The new Jay Z interview, something we don't get often, has a considerable amount of information in it. Not only is it over an hour long, but it's labeled "Part 1," most likely meaning that there will be more installments. The interview, which is now available for viewing over at Tidal, was conducted by journalists Elliott Wilson and Brian "B.Dot" Miller of the Rap Radar Podcast. Elliott is also the editorial director, culture and content, hip-hop at TIDAL.
The conversation touched on a wide range of issues. For those of you without TIDAL, or who are too short on time to spend an hour watching an interview, we've compiled some of the standout moments and bits of info we learned for you to skim over and learn too.
Jay Touched on the Kanye Beef
We all know about the beef between the two icons, which came into the light when Hov took shots at his little brother on "Kill Jay Z." This is what Jay had to say about it: "You can't bring my kids, my wife into it. Kanye's my little brother...But you brought my family into it, that's a problem... You know it’s a problem because me and him would have been talked about it, been resolved our issues. And he knows he crossed the line, he knows. And I know he knows. Because we’ve never let this much space go between one of our disagreements and we’ve had many. It's a part of who we are... He’s an honest person and he’s wrong a lot of times. The point is, I was getting to a point where I said, ‘You got hurt by that.’ You can’t get diss somebody [by] saying you got hurt. That’s the softest diss of all time.”
Hov Only Started Recording Songs for the Album in January
Jay said that on January 3 he recorded the first two tracks of 4:44, "Kill Jay Z" and "The Story of O.J." After the songs were recorded, he said he got a solid direction and vibe of where he wanted the project to go.
Jay Talked About No I.D., the Legendary Producer Behind the Album
Apparently No I.D. hit up Jay back in October of 2016 to say, “Man, I got your next Blueprint.” Jay didn't pay it much mind initially, but No I.D. was right. After meeting at a Roc Nation office, No I.D. played some beats that would eventually end up on 4:44, and the rest is history. Jay also praised the producer's style, particularly his unique way of handling samples.
He Addressed the “Jewish” Line
Jay responded to the controversy around his line about how Jews “own all the property in America.” “It’s hard for me to like, take that serious because I’ve exaggerated every black image in the world,” he explained. “If the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon, and all of the things that was happening...if you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite. I can't address that in real way.”
Jay Brought Up Lavar Ball
“Fuck Nike.” Jay went into detail about how he's puzzled when black people are reluctant to support other black people when they decide to start their own companies, rather than signing with existing ones. He talked about how people like to unfairly criticize TIDAL, but are silent when Spotify does the same exact things that sparked criticism. He then surprisingly brings up a polarizing figure.
“Lavar Ball...He said, I'mma start my own company...Everybody's like you should sign to Nike...Now, he may go about things wrong, he may have a big mouth...but I bought three pair...Why did I buy three pairs? [...] That man has a vision of his own [...] Why wouldn't I support him? He feels like he can move culture.”
He Explained His Marketing Strategy
After releasing billboards for the then-mysterious 4:44 project, people quickly hypothesized that it was an album. Just to throw them off the scent, Jay released that short “Adnis” video trailer. “Ok, this is me being an asshole, let's just throw a little curve ball. Now you don't know whether it's an album or a video.”
Hov Said He Studied the Greats Before Creating the Album
Jay said he listened to Prince, Michael Jackson, and U2 to get inspiration.
Jay and Solange have only had "one disagreement ever."
The 2014 elevator incident was, of course, also addressed during the interview. According to Jay, everything is indeed very cool. "We had one disagreement ever," he explained. "Before and after, we've been cool. [Solange is] like my sister. I will protect her. That's my sister, not my sister-in-law. My sister. Period."
Stay tuned for the second installment of Jay's Rap Radar interview. If you have TIDAL, check out part 1 in full up top.