Jay-Z says his own skewed view of love caused problems in his relationship with Beyoncé, and revealed the couple are committed to working through their issues – and staying together.
“You don’t have the tools”
Speaking out on the cusp of the 2018 Grammy Awards, where his 4:44 record is up for Album of the Year, Jay-Z described Beyoncé as his soulmate and said that a lack of experience contributed to their struggles. While neither have officially commented on the specific problems they’ve faced as a couple, both artists have released songs that reference Jay-Z’s infidelity.
The couple have been vocally processing their relationship struggles over the last few years. You probably remember Beyoncé’s much-reported “Becky with the good hair” reference on the song Sorry? Many theorised it was about Jay-Z’s infidelity and her efforts to come to terms with it:
I see them boppers in the corner
They sneaking out the back door
He only want me when I’m not there
He better call Becky with the good hair
Jay-Z responded in kind, in his album’s title track, 4:44:
I apologise, often womanise
Took for my child to be born
See through a woman’s eyes
Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles
Took me too long for this song
I don’t deserve you.
And if my children knew
I don’t even know what I would do
If they ain’t look at me the same
I would probably die with all the shame
‘You did what with who?’
What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?
‘You risked that for Blue?’
Another Jay-Z track on the 4:44 album, called Family Feud, includes the line “Leave me alone Becky”. It’s a further nod to his infidelity, albeit one that plays into the whole “woman as temptress” myth. Maybe Jay should leave Becky alone?!
Of course, apologising in some regretfully rapped lyrics is not enough to make things right. Jay-Z says it took some serious soul-searching – and hard work on his part – to get things back on track. (We figure Beyoncé probably contributed to the effort, too!)
In an in-depth interview on CNN’s new The Van Jones Show, Jay admitted he struggled to repair the damage he did, and it put immense pressure on his marriage.
“That’s my soulmate. It’s the person I love. And you can be in love with someone, you can love someone, and if you haven’t experienced love and you don’t understand it and you don’t have the tools to move forward, then you’re going to have complications.”
“You can either address [those complications] or you can pretend until it blows up at some point”
Breaking the cycle
It’s fair to say that things “blew up” for this famous couple, with Jay’s infidelity the core theme of his own album, as well as Beyoncé’s Lemonade album.
The rapper says the only way forward was to work through his issues, because the pair were determined to keep their family together and evolve their relationship into something stronger and healthier. The couple are parents to six-year-old Blue Ivy and seven-month-old twins, Sir and Rumi.
“For us, we chose to fight for our love, for our family, to give our kids a different outcome, to break that cycle, for black men and women.”
A palpably emotional Jay says “we were never a celebrity couple, we were a couple who just happened to be celebrities … real people.”