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Jay-Z and R. Kelly during Jay-Z and R. Kelly in Concert - October 29, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
How R. Kelly And Jay-Z's Collaboration Became A Bitter Feud
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of sexual assault and child sex abuse.
As two of the most renowned musicians in the 2000’s, Jay-Z and R. Kelly first came into collaboration after the former worked on a remix version of the latter’s single “Fiesta.” In 2002, they released an LP called “The Best of Both Worlds” which debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200, went platinum in a few months, and placed a joint Jay-Z/R. Kelly tour on the schedule.
However, things took a dark turn only weeks before "The Best of Both Worlds" debuted, when news broke of a video recording that showed Kelly engaging in sexual activities with a minor. After Kelly was indicted that same year on 21 counts of child pornography offenses, his tour with Jay-Z was put on hold, setting in motion the unraveling of their work relationship.
By the time their tour was rescheduled for 2004, Jay-Z and Kelly had recorded another highly successful album together called “Unfinished Business,” but their chemistry had gone way off. Jay-Z reportedly took issue with Kelly’s frequent tardiness and absence from rehearsals, while Kelly complained that the stage lighting emphasized Jay-Z over him.
Tensions came to a head in October 2004 during their performance at New York City's Madison Square Garden, when Kelly abruptly left the stage mid-performance over claims that he had spotted a concert-goer waving a gun at him. This caused Jay-Z to kick Kelly from the remainder of the tour, and the two singers went on to sue each other multiple times.