When one of the greatest MC’s to ever pick up a microphone directs their anger in your direction for any reason, it’s pretty difficult to find the silver lining. Then again, the more I thought about it over the last few days, the more it felt like Jay-Z’s not so subtle shots at his one-time friend and former collaborator Kanye West on his most recent album 4:44 might be the best thing that could have possibly happened to Yeezy in 2017. In fact, it might be the exact thing he needs to regain his place at the top of the rap world.
Before I get to the why, it’s import to first revisit what happened. For well over a decade, Jay and Kanye have reigned as one of the most potent duos in the rap game. Whether it was West manning the boards on all-time classics like The Blueprint, Jay dropping gems on the remix of “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” or their incredible full-length collaboration Watch The Throne, magic happened whenever the pair entered the studio together. Then, last year, West suffered a very public meltdown.
During a concert in Sacramento, California on his Saint Pablo tour in 2016, he called out Jay — who, along with Beyonce didn’t show up to his wedding with Kim Kardashian, and apparently wasn’t interested in setting up play dates with their daughters — saying, “I’ve been sitting here to give ya’ll the truth. Jay-Z, call me, bruh. You still ain’t calling me. Jay-Z, call me. Aye, bruh, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man.”