Rivalry is a part of any sibling relationship, and Kanye West's relationship with the man he calls his "Big Brother," Jay Z, is no exception. The two met for the first time thirteen years ago, after Jay had just recorded "This Can't Be Life"—a song Kanye produced. When Kanye heard the completed version, which would appear on the album, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, his initial reaction was one of disappointment. He hadn't wanted "introspective, complicated-rhyming" Jay, he's said.

Unwilling to confront Jay with such criticism at that point, Kanye did decide to rap for him. Jay's eyes lit up at the line, "I'm killing y'all on that lyrical shit/Mayonnaise-colored Benz I push miracle whips..." But Kanye hadn't proven himself enough to get a deal at Roc-A-Fella Records, at least not yet.

Kanye became one of Jay’s go-to producers, revolutionizing hip-hop production with his sped-up soul sample technique. And eventually, of course, he did a get his deal as a solo artist. But one thing was clear: Jay was the boss. 

Always extremely confident in his abilities (and always feeling they're less-than-appropriately appreciated) Kanye got humbled on November 23, 2003, the night of Jay's all-star extravaganza "retirement" concert at Madison Square Garden. Expecting an opportunity to perform, he's said that he was asked to buy two tickets instead. (Jay would later explain in an interview that Kanye had been given four tickets, but had wanted two more tickets.)

Since releasing his debut album, The College Dropout, in 2004, Kanye has climbed the ranks of rap, to the point where he now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Jay. Like all sibling relationships, theirs is complicated. Kanye was the one who helped bring Jay’s long-running beef with Nas to a close, featuring Nas on a song called “We Major” on his 2005 album, Late Registration. And of course, who can forget Kanye claiming that he had Jay “drop” Kris Humphries from the Brooklyn Nets last year on “Cold?”

But along with the love, comes one-upsmanship. And the rivalry between these two has been quite intense. And that has been good news for rap fans. Check out the high points in A (Brief) History of Jay Z and Kanye West Competing.

Written by Dharmic X (@dharmicX)

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