Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
The guys have known each other for almost two decades, Kanye having produced Jay Z's 2000 tune "This Can't Be Life;"; 2001's smash-hit "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," Jay's first top 10 single as lead artist; Jay's 2003 collab with Beyoncé, "03 Bonnie and Clyde"...the list goes on. Then, of course, Kanye and Jay Z joined forces on 2011's Grammy-nominated Watch the Throne and embarked on what turned into the highest-grossing hip-hop tour to date.
So they've spent a lot of time together. And in case you hadn't noticed, Kanye is one of Beyoncé's biggest fans.
In 2012, Kanye finally started dating the woman of his dreams and Kim was first snapped with Beyoncé while their significant others performed in Birmingham, England. Already there were rumors that had to be debunked that the two ladies didn't get along—which literally stemmed from nothingness, just the usual inclination to pit two female celebrities against each other.
After Beyoncé shut the Superdome down (literally) with her Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show performance in February 2013, Kim tweeted appreciatively, "OMG Beyonce killed it!!! And when Destiny's Child came out...that made my life!"#Bootylicious."
On the flip side, also in February 2013, Kanye let it be known that he wasn't a huge fan of his buddy's latest endeavor, the Justin Timberlakecollaboration "Suit & Tie"—but Jay Z wasn't too broken up, considering how much of a cultural phenomenon the tune became.
On June 15, 2013, Kanye and Kim welcomed daughter North West. He popped the question that October and they tied the knot on May 24, 2014—without Beyoncé and Jay Z in attendance, however.
And since their absence raised more than a few eyebrows at the time, and Kim and Kanye were just seen going to Bey and Jay's house last Friday, let's take a trip down memory lane and examine the at times unpredictable relationship between the two power couples.
First of all, the reason why Jay Z and Beyoncé weren't able to attend Kimye's 2014 nuptials in Italy: In case we all forgot (it does seem like so long ago), that's right when Bey and Jay weren't having the easiest time of it. The wedding was just a few weeks after the infamous elevator fight between Jay Z and Solange, and he and Beyoncé understandably didn't feel up to mingling exactly where all eyes would be turned to that weekend.
While tucked away in the Hamptons with her husband and daughter Blue Ivy, Beyoncé did post on Kim and Kanye's wedding day, "Wishing you a lifetime of unconditional love. God bless your beautiful family."
In relaying his wedding day details to GQ soon after, Kanye said, "It doesn't even matter to me whatsoever, who would show up. Because the most important person to show up there, to me, was Kim. And that's all that matters to me." (He really didn't seem to mind, as he name-checked his pal when he talked about the apparent momentousness of Kim sitting next to fashion taste-maker Carine Roitfeld, comparing it to "the same moment when I brought Mos Def to the studio with Jay Z.")
And as a known pal of the couple, whose togetherness seemed in peril at the time, when asked about the state of Bey and Jay's marriage in light of the elevator issue and its implications, Kim told Andy Cohen, "You just always hope that nothing like that's true, and you just wish them the best."
Later in 2014, Kim and her sisters gave Beyoncé a standing ovation when she was given the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and gave one of the all-time great MTV VMAs performances.
Bey and Jay returned the favor, supporting Kanye at his Yeezy Season 1 debut runway show during New York Fashion Week in February 2015, Beyoncé not even flinching when then 1 1/2-year-old North had a crying jag.
As a fellow mom, she obviously understood.
And the ties continued to bind. Kanye again went to bat for Beyoncé after the 2015 Grammys when her self-titled opus lost to Beck's Morning Phase for Album of the Year. He humorously mock-charged the stage, his past antics an inside joke shared by everybody at that point, but after the show he went off on the whole process, saying that Beck "needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé, and at this point, we tired of it."
So his admiration for Beyoncé's artistry hadn't waned a bit since 2009. Yeezy continued, "Because what happens is, when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you're disrespectful to inspiration and we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day and they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place."
Beyoncé mingled with Kim and Kanye at Balmain's star-studded Met Gala after-party when she went solo last year, just weeks after releasing the possibly accusatory Lemonade. But Jay Z was firmly back in the picture not long after, and the foursome partied together after the 2016 VMAs in New York, everyone appearing to be in great spirits. Earlier in the night onstage, Kanye had said he wouldn't mind if "Famous" lost to "Formation" (which it did), because "I'm always wishing for Beyoncé to win."
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Considering everyone had looked so jolly together barely two months prior, that's why Kanye's complaints about Bey and Jay, which he aired onstage during a stop on his Saint Pablo Tour in November, were so startling.
"Beyoncé, I was hurt 'cuz I heard that you said you wouldn't perform [at the VMAs] unless you won Video of the Year over me and over 'Hotline Bling,'" he exclaimed Nov. 19 in Sacramento, Calif. "In my opinion, now don't go trying to diss Beyoncé. She is great. Taylor Swift is great. We are all great people."
He also said, "I've been sitting here to give ya'll my truth even at the risk of my own life. Even at the risk of my own success, my own career. I've been sitting here to give ya'll the truth! Jay Z, call me bruh! You still ain't calling me. Jay Z, call me…Jay Z, I know you got killers. Please don't send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man!"
Of course, now we know that Kanye wasn't feeling well, as he both ended that concert early and then, the following day, he canceled the rest of his tour and was subsequently hospitalized for exhaustion.
So those explosive minutes are why it was a positive sign to see Kim and Kanye visiting Beyoncé and Jay Z at home last week. It sounds as though the couple aren't harboring any hard feelings.
"The relationship Jay and Kanye have is very strong," a source told People.
Beyoncé had certainly never spoken publicly on the matter, but reportedly she had been encouraging Jay Z to bury the hatchet with his longtime friend.
There's been a long-running theory that there's some not-so-subliminal competitiveness going on for Kanye, because, while they're neck and neck in the fame department (Jay and Kanye even both have 21 Grammys apiece), he desires the same reverence for him and his wife as Jay Z and Beyoncé get. Then there's the long-running rumor that Bey and Kim rub each other the wrong way.
"They love each other. They respect each other," Kanye said on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club in 2015. "When Beyoncé was working on her album she had pictures of Kim on the wall because Kim represents powerful women." Thinking about it, he added, "They definitely respect each other, but maybe there's a LeBron James-Kobe [Bryant] element to it."
You get the picture: theories abound! But in real life they're just two couples who, at the end of the day, are consumed with their own families, their own high and low points, their own lives. When there's a chance to get together, great—but they were never joined at the hip once Jay, and then Kanye a year later, became parents. Not to mention, the whole squad is often on opposite sides of the country, if not the world, at any given time.
Though who can blame Kim for always wanting to put her best foot forward in front of Beyoncé? Who wouldn't be a little intimidated? No one who's met Beyoncé and become her friend in the past 10 years didn't start off as just another humble fan.
On a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, she recounted the night she watched Kanye and Jay Z perform while in the audience with the super-star singer all those years ago.
"My biggest fear was during Watch the Throne that, if I sit next to Beyoncé, she dances and she's up, like [dancing]...So, the last night of the tour, she came to the dressing room and was like, 'Hey, do you want to sit together?'" Kim feigned over-the-top emotion at the memory.
"Then, she wanted to go in the mosh pit and I was like, 'What do we do in the mosh pit?' She's like, 'Dance! Just let loose. Just dance!' And I was like, 'My life is over!'"
As we all know now, of course, her life had just begun.