Jay-Z: R. Kelly and Kanye West Are “Genius Talent(s)”

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Jay-Z decided to surprise Hot 97’s Angie Martinez yesterday by dropping into her New York office for an interview. The Hov was stylin’ as always, wearing a designer shirt: “It’s Dior…it’s fresh” with Timbalands. He also assured Angie that, “Yeah I been working out“. Angie dove straight into talking about Hov’s upcoming collaboration with Kanye West, mentioning that after the R. Kelly/Jay-Z Best of Both Worlds tour debacle she thought he would never collaborate on another album again. Jay-Z referred to Kelly as a ‘genius’, remaining fairly gracious about the whole situation:

“Yeah, that was a tough one. But it’s almost like anything in life. You can’t let that situation affect you going forward. Especially working with genius talent. He is a genius talent. It’s just that he has other things on his mind.”

Angie then asked about the alleged beef between ‘Ye and Hov over the tour’s budget, and was assured that no such beef exists:

“Kanye is a genius. I kind of want to spend a gazillion dollars. I think they got it backwards, but it’s all good. I made it. I don’t really… I know that we doing something right now. When I woke up to all of that, I was like, oh yeah, we must be really hot right now. This is really happening. August 8th.”

“Yes, we get on each other’s nerves. But that’s part of pushing each other. We push each other. The people that have a problem with Kanye or myself are people who are complacent in life. People don’t like to be pushed. It’s like annoying. It’s a thing when people are pushing you to be greater, and we push each other to be greater. So of course there are times when we’re in the studio and we’re yelling, but that’s about it. I would never disrespect that man. I have so much respect for him.”

The two then went on to talk about the enormous pressure that lies behind releasing an album that two huge rap greats are collaborating on. When asked if he felt pressure, Hov simply says that he relishes the challenge:

“I guess a bit after we started it, but I don’t look at it like that. When you make music, you’re against history, you’re against what’s current and you’re against past work. But as far as pressure of what it’s going to sound like, you try not to really let that affect you. You have to have a bit of arrogance to say that this is going to be good.”

“Well that’s what we in this music business for, or any business. We’re in the business of challenging ourselves. Honestly, if I was complacent I wouldn’t be making albums. I mean I have enough accolades to rest on, you know. But that’s the sort of thing that gets me excited and motivated to make music and try even harder.”

The perfectionist nature of ‘Ye and Hov also comes into play. While Jay-Z tells Angie that he feels the album is a “10” because of its timing – “the perfect album at the perfect time” – it took a few attempts to get it there:

“We finished this album 3 times… we brought it down to a place where it was a mix of this technical display of talent and something that was enjoyable”.

And we are assured that the album won’t leak either. “It’s not gonna leak. We took great care to deliver this to the people without leaking it all”. Jay-Z and West have agreed to give iTunes customers access to Watch the Throne on Aug. 8, four days ahead of everyone else.  And Best Buy will exclusively sell a deluxe album till Aug. 23 when other retailers will have access. This has angered several indie retailers; however Hov claims that apart from the threat of hackers, the time in which the records are transported to the retailers (2 weeks before the release date) is the most dangerous time for leaks.

Listen to the whole interview for insights into things as trivial as what the Hov keeps in the Maybach (“An ace of spades, Nerd candies, A throw from Hermes…Oh and a couple Yankee hats”) to details on his time with Obama:

“I was in D.C. having a concert…The mayor for breakfast, then I went to have lunch with the president, then I had a show that night. The president is like the second coolest person in the world”.

After who? After Hov of course. However the bawse assures us that “I try to stay as normal as possible” .

Check out the links below. Jay-Z and Kanye’s album ‘Watch The Throne’ drops August 8th. Listen to first single ‘Otis’ here.

Listen to the interview in parts one, two, three and four.