On “Kill Jay Z,” one of the standout tracks off JAY-Z’s recent album 4:44, Hov lays into his mentee turned collaborator Kanye West, branding ‘Ye “insane” and alluding to a dispute between the two over $20 million.
“I know people backstab you, I feel bad too / But this fuck everybody attitude ain’t natural / But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe / But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye / You gave him 20 million without thinkin’ / He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’? / ‘Fuck wrong with everybody?’ is what you sayin’ / But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane,” raps Jay.
On Friday, I wrote that the $20 million for 20 minutes on stage reference could be a nod to Tidal, JAY-Z’s music streaming service that Kanye was rumored to have distanced himself from following the bumpy release of his last album The Life of Pablo on the platform, along with the company’s rotating CEOs and allegedly inflated subscriber numbers. (The “20 minutes on stage” would be Tidal’s much-maligned declaration of independence product launch back in March ‘15.)
Well, turns out that is probably the case. On Sunday, TMZ reported that Kanye has cut ties with Tidal over money, and that the streaming service has even threatened to sue him.
“Sources connected to Tidal tell TMZ, Kanye has been unhappy with the company for a long time. We’re told Kanye has complained the company owes him money—more than $3 million,” reported the site. “Our sources say a month ago Kanye’s lawyer sent a letter to Tidal, saying the company was in breach and the contract was terminated. Over the next 2 weeks lawyers for both sides tried to resolve the conflict but failed. We’re told 2 weeks ago Kanye’s lawyer fired off a second letter declaring again the contract was over.”
The site further alleges that, even though Kanye’s Life of Pablo album is rumored to have helped double Tidal’s number of subscribers from 1 million to around 2.5 million, the company failed to give ‘Ye an agreed-upon bonus. If that weren’t enough, Kanye’s camp told TMZ that Jay’s company has failed to reimburse ‘Ye for a number of music videos. Jay’s camp, on the other hand, maintains that Kanye failed to deliver on various contractual obligations, including a number of music videos, and that they’ll sue him if he tries to join forces with another streaming service.
This Tidal dispute is only the latest example in JAY-Z and Kanye’s ongoing feud. On his recent Saint Pablo tour, which was eventually cut short when the rapper suffered from a mental breakdown, Yeezy unleashed a series of rants aimed at his mentor, alleging that Jay failed to so much as call him following wife Kim Kardashian being robbed at gunpoint, and that their young children haven’t even played together.
“Don’t call me, after [Kim’s] robbery, and say ‘How you feelin’?’ You wanna know how I’m feeling? Come by the house,” declared Kanye at an October show, adding, “Bring the kids by the house, like we brothers… Our kids ain’t never even played together.” At a November show, he continued, “Jay Z—call me, bruh. You still ain’t called me. Jay Z, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Please call me. Talk to me like a man.” Kanye also hinted at clashes between the two over “some political shit about percentages on songs.”
Around the time of Kanye’s onstage Jay ramblings, Page Six published an eye-opening report asserting that Jay was tiring of his Watch the Throne pal’s shtick. “Jay can’t stand him,” a source told the gossip page. “He looks at him as this crazy, eccentric motherf--ker he can tolerate in small doses. Kanye is a nut job. Everyone knows that.”
Well, to quote Kanye: “Name one genius that ain’t crazy.”