Choosing Sides: Bey-Z Vs. KimYe (A Roundtable)


In light of all the Kim/Kanye and Beyoncé/Jay Z fireworks over the past month, SPIN assembled a roundtable of experts to discuss and dissect the two most powerful couples in music. Has Beyoncé really been calling out Jay Z during their On the Run tour dates? Do we actually believe in Kim and Kanye’s love story? SPIN editor Puja Patel, frequent contributor Anupa Mistry, VIBE editor Clover Hope, New York Times tech reporter Jenna Wortham, and Buzzfeed music editor Naomi Zeichner limn the tabloid mysteries of the Wests and the Carters.

PUJA PATEL: I think it’s safe to say that our obsession with Beyoncé and Jay Z is rooted in their enormous musical talent. They were each the best at what they did by a fairly large margin, and when they consciously coupled, it felt like a perfect merger, equals both artistically and professionally. They were winning Grammys, topping radio charts, and stuntin’ on the entire universe about who/where/what they run. They were bossy, classy, and rich; all the makings of royalty. As fans, we worshiped them separately and were totally obsessed with them together. For me, All That Money and All That Fame were fun to gape at, but I was taken by the relationship between the greatest rapper alive and the woman who could run circles around him as a live performer.

If Bey-Z are the king and queen of pop, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been framed as the couple that covets their throne. Kanye is a genius, there’s no doubting that. But he’s also an insolent, riotous, self-aggrandizing diva. In SPIN’s #SheezusTalks roundtable on Yeezus last year, we talked about how his art affects his women (and female consumers), and were curious if Kim, then pregnant, would become a stand-in for Kanye’s late mother. We saw Kanye empty out Kim’s closet on Keeping Up with the Kardashians and give her — a woman with her own clothing line and retail store — a new look. We saw his proposal, all flashing lights, unfold as some sort of performance art piece designed for reality television. But by the same outlet, we saw them hang as homies. And unlike Jay, we saw Kanye overtly admit his love for Kim (“Way Too Cold”), incorporate her into his art, and use her friends to represent himself (in the video trailer for Yeezus). While he still rants, now it’s often about her.

Read the rest of this roundtable at