November 30, 2017
November 30, 2017 Static City

Jay-Z NY Times Interview :: Discusses Family, Race, Marital Problems & Kanye Tensions [VIDEO]

Jay-Z sat down with Dean Baquet and did NOT hold back. It was a refreshingly revealing interview from someone usually so closed from the modern world of Tweeting anything and everything about your life. He speaks candidly about his family, cheating on his wife, his friendship with Kanye, and about race and his mother. We pick out the best bits from the interview, plus post the full 35 minute video!

BAQUET

The things I want to talk to you about: I want to talk a little bit about race. Your music some, too. I thought the song [“The Story of O.J.,” from the album “4:44,” 2017] was particularly powerful. I took the message as, “You can be rich, you can be poor, you’re still black.” Who were you speaking to? Who did you want to listen to that and be moved by it?

JAY-Z

It’s a nuanced song, you know. It’s like, I’m specifically speaking to us. And about who we are and how do you maintain the sense of self while pushing it forward and holding us to have a responsibility for our actions. Because in America, it is what it is. And there’s a solution for us: If we had a power base together, it would be a much different conversation than me having a conversation by myself and trying to change America by myself. If I come with 40 million people, there’s a different conversation, right? It’s just how it works. I can effect change and get whomever in office because this many people, we’re all on the same page. Right? So the conversation is, like, “I’m not rich, I’m O.J.” For us to get in that space and then disconnect from the culture. That’s how it starts. This is what happens. And then you know what happens? You’re on your own, and you see how that turned out.

The goal is not to be successful and famous. That’s not the goal. The goal is, if you have a specific God-given ability, is to live your life out through that

BAQUET

When you’re as amazingly successful as you are, your kids will live in a very different world from the world you grew up in. How do you go about making sure that they understand the world you grew up in?

JAY-Z

There’s a delicate balance to that, right? Because you have to educate your children on the world as it exists today and how it got to that space, but my child doesn’t need the same tools that I needed growing up. I needed certain tools to survive my area that my child doesn’t need. They’re growing up in a different environment.1 But also they have to know their history. Have a sense of what it took to get to this place. And have compassion for others. The most important thing I think out of all this is to teach compassion and to identify with everyone’s struggle and to know these people made these sacrifices for us to be where we are and to push that forward — for us. I believe that’s the most important thing to show them, because they don’t have to know things that I knew growing up. Like being tough.

So the most beautiful things are things that are invisible. That’s where the important things lie.

BAQUET

What was that like, being in therapy? What did you talk about that you had never acknowledged to yourself or talked about?

JAY-Z

I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a … you’re at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone’s racist toward you, it ain’t about you. It’s about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand.

And once I understand that, instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, “Aw, man, is you O.K.?” I was just saying there was a lot of fights in our neighborhood that started with “What you looking at? Why you looking at me? You looking at me?” And then you realize: “Oh, you think I see you. You’re in this space where you’re hurting, and you think I see you, so you don’t want me to look at you. And you don’t want me to see you.”

BAQUET

You think I see your pain.

JAY-Z

You don’t want me to see your pain. You don’t … So you put on this shell of this tough person that’s really willing to fight me and possibly kill me ’cause I looked at you. You know what I’m saying, like, so … Knowing that and understanding that changes life completely.

BAQUET

Was that a moment that came from therapy?

JAY-Z

Yeah — just realizing that, oh my goodness, these young men coming from these … they just in pain.

BAQUET

Mm-hmm.

JAY-Z

You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode what happen? You shut down all emotions. So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can’t connect.

BAQUET

You can’t connect because of the way you feel about yourself, you mean?

JAY-Z

Yes. In my case, like it’s, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity …

The strongest thing a man can do is cry. To expose your feelings, to be vulnerable in front of the world. That’s real strength

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.13 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.

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