Jay-Z sits down with The New York Times' executive editor, Dean Baquet for an extensive no holds barred interview.
The interview which you can watch below kicks off with Dean Baquet's obsession for O.J Simposon, who was the source of inspiration behind Jay-Z's 4:44 track "The Story Of OJ." When quizzed about the message of the song, Jay said; "itt'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."
Later in the conversation he explained the basics behind the line ["You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it"] and how there really was no need for people to get upset about it.
"I felt it was really hypocritical," he said. "Only because it's obvious the song is, like, "Do you want to be rich? Do what people got rich done." Of course, it's a general statement, right? It's obviously a general statement, like the video attached to it was a general statement. And if you didn't have a problem with the general statement I made about black people, and people eating watermelon and things like that [the animated music videofor the song, which references racist cartoons, includes a caricature of a black man eating watermelon] — if that was fine, [but] that line about wealth bothered you, then that's very hypocritical, and, you know, that's something within yourself. 'Cause basically, I was saying, you know, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, is a great basketball player. He trains in the off-season. If you want to be great, train in off-season like him. That's basically the statement. You can't miss the context of the song. You have to be like 5 years old or something."
At some point in the interview, Hov opened up about his mother coming out as gay.
"We never spoke about it," he said. "Until, like, recently, now we start having these beautiful conversations, and just really getting to know each other. We were always good friends but now we're really great friends. You know. And we were just talking as friends. And then she was sharing that she was in love. She can be herself [now]. She doesn't have to hide for her kids or feel like she's embarrassing her kids. It was a much different time then. [Now] she can just live her full life, her whole life, and be her."
He also spoke on his relationship with Kanye West and the tension surrounding it.
"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."
"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."
On the ongoing feud between him and West.
"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."
Watch the 35 minute long interview above or you can just read it here..