Kanye West has had himself quite a month. After all of the nonsensical things he said and tweeted regarding Donald Trump and slavery, there was still some music of his to be released. As he revealed in tweets he made in May, Kanye was going to be the executive producer of five albums being released. The five albums were Pusha T’s “Daytona”, his solo album “Ye”, the Kid Cudi collaboration “Kids See Ghosts”, Nas’s “Nasir”, and Teyana Taylor’s upcoming album. Each album has had its own internet-streamed listening party, and each really has been an admirable achievement by Kanye in regards to producing (his rapping is far from admirable on “Ye”, but that’s just my opinion).
All of that is good and all, but no one cares anymore. It’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s time to shine.
It’s been long rumored that the couple might have been working on a joint album to release in coordination with the start of their “On the Run II” tour. They proved all those rumors to be true as “EVERYTHING IS LOVE” was released this past Saturday, June 16.
What’s funny is that the tour started June 6th and the Carters had already had four shows before their album released (five if you include the June 16th show where they announced the album). It’s hard to believe that they were scrambling to put the finishing touches on the album to get it playing during the tour, so why the release after ten days of touring? It would have been an even bigger publicity explosion at the start of their tour, as it would have given the #BeyHive time to remember all the words for the live performances.
That gives me an idea that it isn’t coincidental that the album release happened during the tail-end of Kanye’s producing spree. Even more evidence that the release date wasn’t coincidental was that it overlapped with “Nasir”, Nas’s first album since 2012.
Nas and Jay-Z have had quite the past if you didn’t know. I don’t want to get into it, but if you don’t know, now you know. Everyone noticed the pettiness of releasing the album during Nas and Kanye’s weekend. Jay-Z even had a few lines in the album that seemed to reference Kanye. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are marketing geniuses, and it seems they saw an opportunity to squash any momentum or hype that Kanye and Nas might gather.
Once all the Jay-Z/Nas talk was over, the news explosion of the Jay-Z/Beyoncé album was shortly followed by some NBA/Jay-Z news. Jay-Z officially became creative consultant for PUMA Basketball as they are re-entering the basketball world for the first time in 20 years. The news gave NBA blog boys an “A-ha!” moment after a couple big PUMA Basketball signees. Those signees were DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III from Arizona and Duke, respectively. The two are projected to go top 5 in the NBA Draft on Thursday, while having a chance at going first and second to start it all off. The fact that PUMA might have the top two picks in this draft shouldn’t be overlooked. Nike and Adidas have to be pissed that they missed this huge opportunity. It was a bit of a head-scratcher when it was announced that the two had signed with PUMA, given that Nike and Adidas are leaders of the industry by a mile. The moves were given some clarity though with the Jay-Z announcement. Jay-Z being the face of your brand is going to definitely carry some weight with young players coming up through college basketball. Who doesn’t want Jay-Z to be the creative force behind all the apparel and shoes that you put your name and face next to.
Jay-Z becoming the face of PUMA gives Kanye some direct competition, as Yeezy is one of the bigger names for Adidas. Jay-Z has Kanye reeling following up his right hook of “EVERYTHING IS LOVE” with the knockout punch of the PUMA announcement. Both are very bad for the Kanye/Yeezy brand, as the once strong friendship between the two continues to deteriorate.
After his solo album, along with the Kid Cudi, Pusha T, and Nas albums, Kanye doesn’t have much more firepower to get out of the shadow that Jay and Bey have cast over him. I truly don’t think the Teyana Taylor album is the answer. Barring a monumental Drake album, the summer officially belongs to Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
All hail the King and Queen of Hip-Hop.