NEW YORK, NY – The cold war between JAY-Z and Kanye West has been ongoing since late last year. Even amid talk the two were on their way to a reconciliation, there’s been no formal truce announced on either side (at least publicly). Despite the rift, Hov still cited a Yeezy line during a recent interview with the New York Times.
When asked about the election of Donald Trump and whether it’s reignited the race debate in America, the Hip Hop titan answered the question with a reference to “Never Let Me Down” (featuring Jigga) from West’s 2004 debut studio album, The College Dropout.
“Yeah, there was a great Kanye West line in one of [his] songs: ‘Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin’ it,’” the 47-year-old rap legend tells NYT Executive Editor, Dean Baquet. “Take a step back. I think when Donald Sterling got kicked out of the N.B.A., I thought it was a misstep, because when you kick someone out, of course he’s done wrong, right? But you also send everyone else back in hiding. People talk like that. They talk like that. Let’s deal with that.
“I wouldn’t just, like, leave him alone,” he adds. “It should have been some sort of penalties. He could have lost some draft picks. But getting rid of him just made everyone else go back into hiding, and now we can’t have the dialogue. The great thing about Donald Trump being president is now we’re forced to have the dialogue. Now we’re having the conversation on the large scale; he’s provided the platform for us to have the conversation.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Hov opens up about his marriage to Beyoncé, going to therapy and how his therapy sessions helped him recognize pain in others.
“I grew so much from the experience,” he says. “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.?’” he continues. “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?’ 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.’ 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.”
Hov’s 13th studio album, 4:44, was recently nominated for eight Grammy Awards. It revolves heavily around the topics of marriage, therapy and race, similar to the things he discusses in the NYT interview.
Watch the entire conversation above.