R. Kelly‘s reported predatory behavior was painfully public for decades, leading many to dig in the archives to see just how many of his former collaborators knew of the singer’s ways.
This week, a Nas interview with Wendy Williams resurfaced with the rapper angrily calling out Jay-Z for continuing to work with the singer after rumors continued to spread about Kelly’s interest in teenage girls. The year was 2002 and for many hip-hop historians, the time of Nas’ and Jay’s infamous feud.
“That’s not my style,” Illmatic emcee said on Williams’ former 107.5 FM radio show. “I could have shown the R. Kelly video that everybody’s talking about and made fun of it and show pictures of Jay hanging out. You can’t tell me Jay didn’t see a 14-year-old girl come into the studio and sit on R. Kelly’s lap. You gonna tell me he didn’t see no 14-year-old girl come into the vicinity?”
In the early aughts, Jay and Kelly paired up to release Best of Both Worlds after their successful single collaborations, “Fiesta” (Remix) and “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” went to the top of the charts. 2002 was also the year recordings of Kelly engaging in sex acts with a 14-year-old circulated around the country and later, the internet. In his interview, Nas brings up Kelly’s problems and explained how he saw a “little problems” with his behavior.
“You’ve seen it go down. I’ve been around R. Kelly … I’ve been on tours with him. I didn’t see no 14-year-old, but I talked to the man and see there’s a little problem there. The brother needs help and I pray for him. I’m here for the people. I’m here to talk [about] the truth.”
Nearly 17 years before the 6-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly upended his sex cults, the unearthed discussion shows how complicit people were in the 52-year-old’s perversions.
A claim launched long before Surviving R.Kelly aired in January 2019, the rapper professes that both him and HOV knew that Kelly had taken a liking to young girls, though Nas asserts that he never saw young girls while with Kelly.
The Lifetime limited series was a 6-part exposé chronicling the generational abuse faced by young women and girls at the hands of the pied piper of R&B. Director dream hampton previously stated former colleagues of Kelly’s declined to be interviewed for the doc including Jay-Z .