Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles typically stay away from media interviews.
But the couple are in the spotlight after The New York Times published an interview with Jay-Z, where he spoke candidly about race, therapy, marriage and politics. Just this week, the Grammy's announced that Jay-Z received eight nominations for his album 4:44.
The nearly 40-minute conversation between the artist and executive editor Dean Baquet revealed aspects of the artist's life that had largely been speculated. After Beyoncé's 2016 album Lemonade, social media erupted at the thought that the power couple would be splitting since the album focused on infidelity.
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Some called it a publicity stunt to create more buzz for album sales. When 4:44 dropped earlier in 2017, we gathered more from the Carter Knowles family. Turns out, the artists were trying to talk to us all along in a sincere way. Here are 5 big takeaways from the Jay-Z and New York Times interview:
1. Yes, he cheated. But fear of losing his marriage made him man up.
In his album 4:44, Jay-Z raps about the elevator scandal and self-growth as a husband and father. The song "Kill Jay-Z" is about him coming to terms with his problems and ego. That emotional turmoil, it seems, brought problems into his marriage as he tells the Times about how he shut down emotionally in his marriage.
"In my case, like it's, it's deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity," he said. "You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is like 50 percent or something 'cause most people can't see themselves," he adds later on.
2. Jay-Z is not scared to say he goes to therapy.
He encourages men to show their feelings. It's perfectly normal to cry. Jay-Z tells Baquet that friends helped him get connected to a professional who helped him.
"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," he told the Times.
3. He has love for Kanye, but said that their relationship is complicated right now.
Kanye made headlines when he started talking about Jay-Z and his family while on tour. The beef is something that Jay-Z hopes becomes a thing of the past. Jay-Z called the rapper "his brother" and that there's just been underlying competition between the two ever since Jay-Z brought Kanye on his label.
"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."
4. In terms of race relations, President Obama was "not a superhero."
The rapper tells the Times that people put too much pressure on Barack Obama as the first black president to improve race relations in America. He called it unfair to place "unfulfillable expectations on this man just because of his color."
He added, "He's there for eight years. And he has to undo what 43 presidents have done. In eight years. That's not fair."
5. Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' was not a planned album. It just kinda happened.
Jay-Z tells Baquet that he and his wife used art "like a therapy session" and started making music together. Beyoncé's songs moved along quicker and Lemonade came out first instead of the joint album that the pair were working on.
"Um, we still have a lot of that music. And this is what it became. There was never a point where it was like, 'I'm making this album.' I was right there the entire time," he said.
See the full interview here, and then go listen to Lemonade and 4:44 to get in your feelings all over again.