JAY-Z and Beyoncé Originally Planned '4:44' and 'Lemonade' as a Joint Album
By Alex Ungerman
Lester Cohen/Getty Images for NARAS
JAY-Z and Beyoncé worked through their problems as artists often will -- with music.
The 4:44 rapper reveals during a candid interview with The New York Times' T Magazine, published on Wednesday, that his album and his wife's 2015 visual record, Lemonade, began as what was to be a joint release.
"It didn't happen in that way," the 47-year-old artist responds when asked how he and Beyoncé discussed making two deeply personal albums. "We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together."
"The music she was making at that time was further along," he adds. "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,'" he explains. "I was right there the entire time."
Both 4:44 and Lemonade turned into critically acclaimed albums that deal with heavy topics of race and injustice, as well as personal issues concerning JAY-Z's admitted infidelity.
Noting that listening to each other's music made each other "very, very uncomfortable," JAY-Z shares, "The best place in the hurricane is in the middle of it."
"The best place is right in the middle of the pain. And that's where we were sitting. And it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations," he continues. "[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."
JAY-Z earned eight nominations for the 2018 GRAMMYs, including for Album of the Year. He leads the pack this year, trailing his wife's nine nods in 2017 by one. Beyoncé went on to win two GRAMMYs last year, losing out to Adele for Album of the Year, only to have the British artist proclaim during her acceptance speech that Beyoncé was more deserving.
"I can't possibly accept this award. I'm very humbled and very grateful and gracious, but [the] artist of my life is Beyoncé," Adele said through tears as Beyoncé looked up at her from the audience. "The Lemonade album is just so monumental and so well thought out and so beautiful. We all got to see another side to you that you don't always let us see and we appreciate that. All us artists here appreciate you."