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If there's one thing that both Jay-Z and Kanye West have taken a shine to over the years, it's white people. Specifically, white male singers. So deep is their affection for the musical stylings of the Adam Levines (Maroon 5) and Chris Martins (Coldplay) of the world that a disagreement over who should be allowed to make terrible music with the latter of those two names led to one of the first and few public disputes between Jay and Ye.
The closing track from Kanye West's fanfuckingtastic 2007 album Graduation is called "Big Brother" and, for the most part, plays like a tribute to his friend and mentor. That said, check out these lines from the song:
As presented in "opening scroll from Star Wars" colors.
Pretty contentious stuff, and by Jay-Z's own admission, Kanye kind of had reason to be upset. After all, "Young Hov" made the necessary phone calls to make the Kanye West song happen in the first place. To turn around and rush his own Coldplay-infused song onto store shelves was kind of lame of him.
Furthermore, it's not like he had any precedent for recording with someone like Chris Martin (Linkin Park doesn't count because I pretend that band isn't real), but Kanye certainly did. On the album prior to this kerfuffle, Late Registration, he recorded a song that featured Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine on the chorus. So, sure, at the time of the Coldplay incident, it probably seemed like Jay-Z was on some copycat bullshit, but even if that was the case, one thing was for sure -- there was no way he was going to let Kanye West like Chris Martin more than he liked Chris Martin ever again.
Since bickering over who wanted a Mr. Paltrow cameo on their album the hardest, Jay-Z has gone out of his way to prove who the real Coldplay fan is in the relationship. Those two don't just record songs together, they're practically family now. If that sounds like hyperbole, check out this headline:
DO NOT go to Cuba!
Not familial enough for you? Fine, take this one instead:
I hope he saves a life someday so we can call him "Doctor Jay."
Also, name another white actress who gets away with tweeting this shit after a Jay-Z concert:
Fact: Your black friends will never be this comfortable with you.
If ever there was a time when we all felt that Kanye West was more deserving of the uppity attention of Coldplay's lead singer (and his entire family), that time has certainly passed by now. And it wouldn't be the last time Kanye would have his thunder stolen by his boss.
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A new album from Kanye West or Jay-Z is always going to be a huge deal. Normally, that huge deal would be preceded by months of promotion and leaked tracks and shout-outs to watch makers and all the other fun stuff that comes with releasing an album. There was none of that when Kanye West released his most recent album, Yeezus, last month.
No videos, no singles on the radio, nothing. He just tweeted a date and the album arrived, looking like the rush to get it from the factory that printed up the discs to the music-buying public left no time for Kanye to strap on a bear suit and take a picture for the album cover or anything.
That's some exciting shit, and since when does a major rap artist of that caliber just drop a surprise album on people like that? Well, Jay-Z does, and he broke the surprise in a slightly more grandiose manner than projecting his face on the side of a building.
He's over that shit anyway.
A mere two days before the release of Yeezus, Jay-Z bought three minutes of commercial time during Game 5 of the NBA Finals (which will probably set you back like 50 bucks these days) to tell the world, "Surprise, I have a new album coming out, too!" As if breaking the news of your surprise album (Magna Carta Holy Grail) two days before baby brother is set to release his isn't overshadowing enough, he also announced that not only would the album be coming out on the Fourth of July, but it would be delivered to 1 million Samsung Galaxy owners for free at midnight 72 hours prior to the physical release date.
Yeezus H. Christ, is there anything else? Will Jay-Z hand deliver a copy to 1,000 fans in each of the 50 states? Does the album come with the deed to a new state? These are probably the kind of under-the-breath questions Kanye West was muttering to himself after hearing those plans.
Aside from being kind of a dick move, though, it didn't really have any impact on Yeezus, right? After all, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts and, at an impressive 327,000 copies sold, marks the biggest first week sales numbers for a rap artist since Drake's Take Care album in 2011. But ...
Yeezus stopped selling as quickly as it started selling, suffering an insane 80 percent sales drop-off in the second week, moving just 65,000 copies. That's the fourth biggest drop by an album that debuted at No. 1 in the entire SoundScan era. To his credit, at least when Kanye West fails, he still does it in history-making fashion.
As for Jay-Z and Magna Carta Holy Grail, the first week sales of 528,000 copies made for the second biggest opening week for any artist all year (Justin Timberlake sold damn near a million his first week out).
The Kanye West camp blamed online piracy for killing Week 2 sales, but seeing as how Jay-Z literally gave away a million copies and still had one of the best weeks of the year, Yeezus shouldn't rule out that the weak sales are the result of something a little closer to home.