R. Kelly and Jay-Z set off earlier last month to accomplish the impossible. Two of the most popular and successful artists of the hip-hop and R+B genres were to join forces and create a spectacular and historical show to promote their LP, the collaboration, The Best of Both Worlds.
It turns out now that the best of both worlds are better off in different constellations. The tour that for months has been described as history in the making has gone up in smoke and has left in its wake lawsuits, confused fans, and a whirlwind of drama.
“This is just disrespectful. Everybody better grab their Best of Both Worlds albums, because that’s it. It’s too much. Certain things aren’t meant to be. It looks good on paper,” Jay-Z said in a radio interview.
Last Friday is when everything hit the fan. Madison Square Garden was bustling and shaking with more than just fans when the show was cut short after R. Kelly stormed off the stage mid-performance.
According to R. Kelly’s account of the evening, he left the stage because he saw two men wave guns at him from the audience and felt threatened since he had received hostile phone calls earlier. When he attempted to return to the stage, Kelly claims he was pepper sprayed by two members of Jay-Z’s entourage.
In response to the allegations, Jay-Z and the tour’s managers have pulled Kelly from the tour and will continue the rest of the dates as Jay-Z and Friends, with appearances from today’s leading Hip-Hop and R+B performers. In return Kelly has filed a $75 million lawsuit for his mistreatment claiming the rapper acted out of spite and jealousy.
In an interview on New York radio station Hot 97 early Saturday morning, Jay called Kelly’s actions "foolery" and said that the "insecure" Kelly was jealous of the crowds’ love for Jay.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, also claims that this was not the first incident to date of R.Kelly acting unprofessionally on the tour. He told the listeners that shows in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis were extremely late in starting, not completed or cancelled because of Kelly.
“It’s not the lights," Jay said, shooting down a theory that Kelly was canceling shows due to technical difficulties with the lighting. "This is Madison Square Garden — come on, New York City. He don’t love New York? He can’t say that."
Thursday afternoon, Jay expressed to MTV News the disappointment he’s felt over the cancellations.
It’s very frustrating to cancel shows,” Jay-Z says,” Because I wanna see every single person. I don’t want somebody to be holding their ticket for 29 days and on the 30th day it gets cancelled. But [the tour] is living up to my expectations when I get out there and I see people and connect with people. I’m like, ‘This is the reason I’m here.’ When I first step off the bus and I turn that corner and they throwing up Roc signs, I’m like, ‘This is why I’m here.’ "
Despite the drama on stage the new Best of Both World’s LP, entitled Unfinished Business is number one on the Billboard charts selling over 200, 000 records. Although no official artists have signed up for the Jay-Z and Special Friends Tour, Mary J. Blige and P.Diddy are expected to perform at the next scheduled date in Miami.