Credit: Ellen VonUnwerth
ESSENCE.com caught up with the prince of R&B to discuss his real beef with R. Kelly, losing a son and grown-folks business.
Essence.com: You’re a busy man. Let’s switch gears to address some of the rumors, like your beef with R. Kelly. I understand you are suing him?
N.Y.: As of right now, things are pending legally so I’m not at liberty to talk about the case. You know, I never have a problem talking about anything, but I’ve been advised not to discuss the case.
Essence.com: That’s understandable. Well, can you explain how your dismissal from the tour came about?
N.Y.: Well, it wasn’t even told to me directly by [R. Kelly]; he sent his people to tell me.
Essence.com: So do you think your affiliation with Jay-Z and Def Jam had anything to do with it, considering that they once toured together and didn’t complete the tour together?
N.Y.: I don’t think so, because if that were the case I wouldn’t have been on the tour to begin with. It’s no secret that I’m a Def Jam artist so I don’t think that had anything to do with it.
Essence.com: It’s been reported that you were asked to leave the tour because you upstaged him. Is that simply speculation?
N.Y.: Well, I’m the one who made that statement. I only did two shows in Columbus and Georgia. It was only the next day after the first two reviews came out and they gave me great reviews and his were not so positive.
Essence.com: Wow—so did you ever speak to R. Kelly about your dismissal?
N.Y.: Nope. That was another thing—as a man he showed me blatant disrespect. He never tried to come and speak to me, but he wouldn’t even have to come to me, I would have been willing to talk to him about it, but that never happened.
Essence.com: Had you met him prior to this tour?
N.Y.: No, I was on tour and I didn’t get to speak to that man. I didn’t see his face. He didn’t make an attempt to speak to me; it was as if it didn’t matter that I was there.
Essence.com: Well, what about during rehearsals?