A British television Channel 4 documentary explores the feud that has turned Jay-Z and Kanye West from two of the closest friends in rap to public enemies.
The programme, titled Public Enemies: Jay-Z vs Kanye, charts the musicians’ rise to fame and how their famous falling out came about, with previously unseen footage and interviews with people close to both.
The film goes on to tell the story of a creative partnership spanning two decades and reveals an even bigger story of how race, wealth and celebrity are shaping modern America.
The one-hour documentary traces why one of the biggest and most successful duos in hip hop history no longer friends – and it appears that Kanye’s marriage to reality television star Kim Kardashian may be the root of the problem.
The rappers seemed to drift apart when Kanye became involved with one of the most fame-loving humans on the planet, while Jay-Z continued to keep his personal life private with wife Beyoncé.
Kanye’s marriage to Kim in 2014 threw the couple further into the media spotlight – if that is at all possible – with a high-profile wedding that Jay-Z and Beyoncé were notably absent from.
GLC, a rapper and Kanye’s friend, speaks of how the marriage changed him. He states in the show: “The guy that I see now, that’s not the guy that we knew back then, that’s not the same person.”
But it was when Kim was robbed at gunpoint in Paris that lead to cracks in the friendship showing in public.
He launched a scathing attack on his former pal for his lack of support following the incident, saying in his first public appearance: ‘”Don’t call me, after the robbery, and say ‘how you feelin?’ You wanna know how I’m feelin? Come by the house. Bring the kids by the house. Like we’re brothers. Let’s sit down.”
Hours before being hospitalised following a reported psychological breakdown, Kanye made a 17 minute speech at the Saint Pablo Tour concert in Sacramento, California, that included praising Donald Trump and asking Jay-Z not to have him assassinated.
Coodie Simmons, filmmaker and friend of Kanye, said: “I was watching it and then just I don’t even and right in the middle of it I started praying for him because something’s not right and sure enough he went to hospital after that.”
Friends of the former duo are hopeful of a reconciliation, with professor and writer MK Asante adding: “They’re stronger together, they’re more powerful together, when they come together and make magic, I think if anything we as a hip hop community need them to be together.”
Public Enemies: Jay-Z vs Kanye airs at 10pm on Channel 4 tonight (31 July).