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Posted under: Music Culture

JAY-Z Bares His Soul While Discussing His Career, Marriage, Race And Politics In 'New York Times' Interview

He acknowledeges the pain he caused and how he used his music to cope with it all.

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Since dropping his latest album, 4:44, business mogul and rap legend JAY-Z has been very upfront about his personal life with wife, singer and pop icon Beyoncé as well as his feelings about race. 

The album's success has garnered the legend eight Grammy nominations and has already cemented its place in pop culture history.

Now, in a recent interview with New York Times' executive editor Dean Baquet, Jay gives an in-depth look into the process behind what many say is one of the year's best albums. 

Hov's latest has been called the response to Beyoncé's Lemonade by critics and music fans alike. But to Jay, the album is the "best place is right in the middle of the pain."

What pain? The pain of healing, in part. Carter confirmed that both Lemonade and 4:44 we crafted in response to his infidelity, calling the works "therapy."

In fact, Bey and Jay worked on their music together, which is where the rumors of a joint album came from.

“We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together,” Carter said. However, "the music [Beyoncé] was making at that time was further along,” so developed her tracks into Lemonade.

Like everyone else in the world, Jay said that Lemonade is a great album, that he is "really proud of the music [Beyoncé] made." And he said his wife is also "really proud of the art I released."

"And, you know, at the end of the day we have a healthy respect for one another's craft. I think she's amazing," Jay said.

He is also proud that he and his wife were able to work things out.

"You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is 50 percent or something, 'cause most people can't see themselves," Jay said. "The hardest thing is seeing the pain on someone's face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself."

And Carter was just as upfront while discussing politics. He was very forthcoming about his love of President Barack Obama and about his dislike of President Donald Trump. 

On Obama, Hov acknowledged that "he's not a superhero," before going on to say, "And it's unfair to place unfulfillable expectations on this man just because of his color. You're actually doing the opposite. It's like, what do you think is gonna happen? He's there for eight years. And he has to undo what 43 presidents have done. In eight years. That's not fair."

The interview also features a few really nice moments where Jay reflects on his mother's sexuality, and on his strained relationship with Kanye. "So I've always been like a 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," he said about West.

Finally, the conversation focused on "The Story of O.J" from the album. Topics discussed included black wealth, the antisemitism some see in the song and the public reception of the hit single. After going through each of these points, Jay stressed that the song has an important message people he doesn't want people to miss:

"Be proud of who you are and realize that we're gonna get further together. Don't check out. You can't just turn your back on the place you come from. You come from a community. Your job is to uplift it now."

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