After Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, in which she sang at length about her husband’s infidelities, and his own allusions to being unfaithful on his latest album 4:44, Jay-Z has finally admitted to cheating on his wife.
In a tell-all interview with the The New York Times, the man formerly known as Sean Carter finally admitted his “infidelity,” but did not name the woman memorably described by Beyoncé as “Becky with the good hair” in her 2016 track “Sorry.”
The admission came during a lengthy conversation with the paper’s Executive Editor Dean Baquet. Baquet was asking Carter about his childhood growing up in Brooklyn, and Jay said that he was still scarred from it.
He said that he shut down his emotions and pushed his wife away when issues from his past came up.
Jay-Z explained: “You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode, what happens? You shut down all emotions.”
“So, even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can’t connect... In my case, like, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity.”
Baquet did not press Jay-Z on the details, but later in the interview asked: “I’m trying to picture the scene when you and your wife both talked about making these very confessional, open albums. Was it difficult to say: ‘I’m gonna talk about the problems in our marriage. I’m gonna talk about how we almost lost things.’ And for her to say: ‘I’m gonna talk about my pain and anger at you.’ What were those conversations like?”
Jay replied: “It didn’t happen in that way. It happened—we were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together.”
“And then the music she was making at that time was further along. 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.’ I was right there the entire time.”
Baquet asked, “What was her reaction to your work and what was your reaction to hers? They must have caused pain for each of you, right?”
Jay responded: “Of course. And both very, very uncomfortable, but the best place in the, you know, hurricane is like in the middle of it.”
The comments echo Carter’s mature rapping on his recent album, which included the line: “I apologize often womanize / 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.”
Jay also said in the interview he’s closer than ever to mom Gloria Carter, who came out via his track “Smile” earlier this year.
On the track Jay rapped: “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take / Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
Jay reveals in the interview that he “didn’t have permission” to do the song at first but said he’s known since he was a teen that his mom was gay.
He added: “We never spoke about it. Until like recently now we start having these beautiful conversations and just really getting to know each other. We were always good friends but now we’re really great friends.”
He also came close to apologizing to those hurt by buying drugs off him in his youth, saying he took “ownership for the part I played in occupying that space. Because knowing what I know now, you can’t sacrifice others for your life. There’s a karmic debt that has to be paid.”