The rumor that Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z were recording an album together, dates back a few years—when Billboard asked Detail about it in February 2015, it had already been swirling for months. Detail told the magazine, “When you think of Jay and Bey together, you think ‘album,’” and said he’d work to make it come out by the end of that year. And then in May 2016, after the cultural shockwave of Lemonade, Page Six reported that a “surprise” follow-up record featuring both of them was going to “drop on his streaming service Tidal very soon.”
A year and a half later, they still haven’t delivered our Bey/Jay joint venture. But a new interview with Jay in T magazine (by New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet), confirms that the rumors weren’t off. The couple did cut an album together that Jay implies spawned his 4:44 album, which was released in June of this year:
JAY-Z We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together.
And then the music she was making at that time was further along. So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we 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.
BAQUET And what was her reaction to your work and what was your reaction to hers? They must have caused pain for each of you, right?
JAY-Z Of course. And both very, very uncomfortable, but [...] the best place in the, you know, hurricane is like in the middle of it...And that’s where we were sitting. And it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations. You know. [I was] really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another’s craft. I think she’s amazing.
“We still have a lot of that music,” seems to suggest that there are duet recordings that have yet to see the light of day. Will they? Fire up the rumor mill.
In the interview, Jay also touches on his second most talked about relationship—that with Kanye West. Without going into much detail, Jay acknowledges there’s been “tension” with Kanye, with whom he’s been seemingly engaged in a feud. “There’s gonna be complications in the relationship that we have to get through,” says Jay. “And the only way to get through that is we sit down and have a dialogue and say, ‘These are the things that I’m uncomfortable with. These are the things that are unacceptable to me. This is what I feel.’ I’m sure he feels that I’ve done things to him as well. You know what I’m saying? These are — I’m not a perfect human being by no stretch. You know.”