UK pubcaster Channel 4 has commissioned a one-off documentary set to trace the rise and falling out of seminal hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Public Enemies: Jay-Z v. Kanye will use home videos, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with the pair’s closest friends to unearth the story behind the rappers’ rise to success, their close relationship and their subsequent bitter feud. The hour-long film is produced by London-based Acme Films.
The documentary aims to depict a tale of creativity versus commercial gain, inner-city deprivation versus suburban aspiration, and of right versus left, while also revealing a bigger story of how race, wealth and celebrity are shaping modern America.
The falling out between the former mentor and protégé can be traced back to a Nov. 19, 2016 show in Sacramento, when West ranted about Beyoncé and Jay-Z while on stage. Two days after the Sacramento stop, he was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation and placed under observation after suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
Jay-Z later responded to the rant on “Kill Jay Z”, the opening track of his 13th studio album 4:44, in which the Brooklyn rapper croons: “I know people backstab you, I felt bad too/But this ‘f**k everybody’ attitude ain’t natural/But you ain’t a saint, this ain’t kumbaye/But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye/You gave him 20 million without blinkin’/He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f**k was he thinkin’? [sic]”
Public Enemies: Jay-Z v. Kanye is expected to premiere on Channel 4 later this summer.
“In the process of building their empires, Jay-Z and Kanye have provided a spine tingling soundtrack for a generation,” said director Nico Wasserman in a statement. “Their story goes beyond their music and has opened up discussions on everything from class barriers to mental health.”
“Arguably two of the coolest and most influential artists in the world, their incredible life stories offer a fascinating new twist on the American dream,” added Rob Coldstream, Channel 4′s commissioning editor of special factual. “These are two mega-personalities whose success and rivalry has captured the public’s imagination.”