A couple of months ago, Kanye West claimed on Twitter that Watch The Throne 2 would be “coming soon.” That is probably not happening! In recent years, West and his old Watch The Thrones partner JAY-Z have exchanged harsh words with each other publicly. And they’ve also come down on opposite sides of the political divide, with West embracing Donald Trump and JAY becoming an outspoken critic. And on a new Meek Mill song, JAY speaks out about West and his whole Trump phase.
Last night, Meek released the new album Championships, his first since his release from prison. The album features appearances from many of rap’s biggest stars, including Cardi B, Future, and Meek’s old nemesis Drake. But the Championships track that everyone is talking about today is “What’s Free,” the one where JAY goes off for a very long time.
On “What’s Free,” Meek and Rick Ross rap over the beat from the old Biggie Smalls song “What’s Beef.” (In his verse, Ross appears to call Tekashi 6ix9ine a homophobic slur.) And then JAY offers this: “No red hat, don’t Michael and Prince me and ‘Ye / They separate you when you got Michael and Prince’s DNA / I ain’t one of these house niggas you bought / My house like a resort, my house bigger than yours.” The verse goes on, getting deep into the way entire lifetimes of institutional discrimination can affect black people.
People are talking about this verse like it’s JAY going after Kanye, but that’s not what’s happening. JAY is resisting the impulse to pit himself and Kanye against each other. When he says “my house bigger than yours,” he’s pretty obviously talking to Trump, not West. (He follows that with “my spouse… come on, man.” That could be a line a about Kim Kardashian, but I think it’s more likely about Melania Trump.) There’s a lot of nuance to what JAY says, and it’s worth hearing.
UPDATE: In a rare tweet, Jay-Z clarifies that he wasn’t going after Kanye on his “What’s Free” verse. He writes, “The line clearly meant don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are (red hat) now go pick up Meek album . Drake and Meek on there together .”
The line clearly meant don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are (red hat) now go pick up Meek album . Drake and Meek on there together .
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) November 30, 2018
UPDATE 2: Kanye still has his hopes up.
Throne 2 ♂️
— ye (@kanyewest) November 30, 2018
Listen to the song below.
Championships is out now on Maybach Music Group/Atlantic.