Beyoncé and Jay Z Will ‘Confront the Hard Subjects’ on Tour

It looks like Beyoncé and Jay Z’s upcoming On The Run 2 Tour might be the time where the couple hashes out any marital differences, according to Bey’s stepfather Richard Lawson.

Lawson told People, “Well, look at what they’ve been through in the last couple of years in terms of the things that they’ve confronted and the way that they’ve put it into art,” he said, adding, “This is gonna be really a culmination of their growth and their ability to really confront the hard subjects and the hard issues.”

Hov shared with David Letterman on Friday’s episode of the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman that after attending therapy, he and Bey are “in a better place today.”

“Beyoncé is one of the sweetest people in the world,” Lawson said. “She’s still 16 years old at her heart—she still laughs like a 16-year-old.”

“She has more care and more concern and more love for humanity,” he continued. “She has more integrity, she’s a creative soul, she has a big, big, big, big, big vision about how to do things. She’s always moving the needle. I cannot tell you how proud I am of her and just how much I appreciate knowing such a large spirit. She’s an incredible human being.”

The couple’s tour kicks off in June in Europe, then comes to the U.S. in July. But before that, Beyoncé will grace the Coachella stage on April 14 and 22, after not being able to perform as the headlining act last year since she was pregnant with twins Rumi and Sir.

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LeBron James Joins Justin Timberlake on Stage to Drink Shots

Justin Timberlake fans in Cleveland received a wonderful surprise on Saturday night during the pop star's sold-out concert at Quicken Loans Arena. Concertgoers understandably went nuts when Timberlake brought Lebron James on stage. James did not come empty-handed: He brought a tray full of shots for Timberlake and his dancers.

This may not have been a huge surprise to the superfans: Timberlake was seen at Friday's Cleveland Cavaliers game against the New Orleans Pelicans (the same game where James surpassed Michael Jordan’s consecutive double-digit scoring record). The two exchange some friendly words while covering their lips with their collars to fend off intrigued lip-readers. 

In February, Timberlake earned his fourth No. 1 album with Man of the Woods. The accompanying tour was just as successful, reaching the $100-million mark during its early stages. Arthur Fogel, president of global touring for Live Nation, said, “We've got 50 shows on sale in North America and 16 in Europe, and we're over 700,000 tickets [sold] and $100 million gross… It’s huge.”

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Bill Nye Comes for B.o.B About Flat Earth Beliefs

B.o.B made us scratch our heads when he shared in a series of tweets that had “scientific” evidence the Earth was flat and not round.

Bobby Ray is so committed to being a flat Earth truther that he tried to confront Nasa and Neil Degrasse Tyson’s logic on Twitter (and wrote a diss track called “Flatline” at him), dropped a series of mixtapes where he comments on society, politics, and conspiracy theories, and now wants to launch a satellite through a GoFundMe to prove once and for all the Earth is flat.

Then there’s Kyrie Irving, who is also a firm believer that the Earth is flat. But he could be trolling with his stance, who the hell knows.

It’s enough to get Bill Nye so fired up that he wants to debunk every flat Earth theory out there. Complex's Khal and Frazier Tharpe sat down with him recently to hear his thoughts about the phenomenon.

“The dismissal of so much human knowledge is crystallized that the Earth might be flat. It’s just saying, everyone we came before me is a dumbass and that’s wrong,” he says. “The passion, beauty, and joy – the PB&J of science – is you can do it for yourself. It’s not man, woman. It’s not recently from Africa, recently from Europe. It’s true for everyone—the Earth goes around the sun, the Earth is a ball.”

“And if you believe the flat Earth, go to the freaking edge, and take a picture. Post it on the ‘Gram.”

Facts. You can watch the video above.

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Can This Sneaker Store Take Over in New York City?

Previously exclusive to Europe with locations in Stockholm, London, Paris and Berlin, sneaker store Sneakersnstuff is now planting its flag in New York City.

Fresh off opening their new door on 22 Little West 12th Street, co-founders Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson stopped by Full Size Run to discuss the expansion of their empire, the continued war between Nike and Adidas and what they expect from the market in 2018.

When asked about the competitive landscape in New York, Fagerlind dismissed the idea of SNS competing against other independent boutiques, but believes that they can collectively affect big chain business.

“Personally, I always felt like all the independent stores that sort of mean something, that care for product and care for storytelling, combined will probably affect Foot Locker or the mall,” he said.

Fagerlind also says that SNS makes it a point to not look at competition too much because they believe it'll take necessary attention away from executing their own vision.

Watch the latest episode of Full Size Run above for more industry insight from the Sneakersnstuff crew and be sure to subscribe to Sole Collector on YouTube for future episodes and more original content.

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J. Cole Calls for Fans to Stop Watching NFL: ‘Show the World and Ourselves Our True Economic Power’

Following Trump's inflammatory tweet Sunday morning which took shots at the NFL and all its players taking a knee during the national anthem, many celebrities had quite a few things to say in retaliation, including J. Cole.

The 4 Your Eyez Only rapper took to Twitter to encourage professional athletes to continue taking stands against injustices, to criticize the NFL's handling of Colin Kaepernick, and to suggest football fans should stop watching the NFL. This isn't Cole's first dabble in Twitter rants, however this time he was rightfully speaking out against hateful, racist institutions, and what sports fans can do in protest. In his attempt at creating a Twitter thread, Cole kicked off his commentary by shouting out love to his fans and to Cardi B, before delving into more political commentary. 

However the bulk of Cole's messages were directed at the role that sports fans play within the grander scheme of things. 

Cole even offered policy proposals to his followers, suggesting a special investigator be hired in order to get to the bottom of Colin Kaepernick's inability to sign with a team. 

Finally, Cole wrapped it up by reiterating the role that fans play in all of this. He alluded to the reality that money is power, and if fans choose to not watch football in an effort to take a stand against something they believe in, the NFL has no choice but to listen to them. 

 

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Who Was Jay Z Shooting at on “Get Throwed”?

“Get Throwed” is a landmark song for Houston rap music, and means much more beyond being a massive single off Bun B's first solo album, Trill. After UGK linked up with Jay Z on 2000's “Big Pimpin,” they were catapulted to a new level of fame, so Jay coming back and returning the favor with a feature only felt right.

But there's apparently a little bit more history to the song than we knew. During a new interview on the Rap Radar Podcast, Bun B confessed that Jay's appearance wasn't as innocent as it may have seemed on first glance. The Houston legend says Jay was clapping at someone on “Get Throwed,” and it sounds like it may have been someone close to him.

“If you listen to 'Get Throwed,' to Jay's verse—to some people it's going to be clearer than others—but there were shots fired in bars 8-12, and there were more shots from bars 12-16,” Bun B explains. “This was before [Nas]. This was more internal. You go back and listen to it, that's the only clue I'm going to give you.”

There are only 15 bars in Jay's verse, so we'll have to assume Bun meant 12-15 in his claim. But this begs the question: who the hell was Jay firing at on “Get Throwed,” and why? First, let's parse through the actual lyrics in question, starting from bar eight.

The competition is none, they deceased to exist
Let it breathe a little bit
He's off his rocker, he's a lil schiz'
Throwed like a football, Hov' used to cook raw
Now I got the game sewn like granny's good shawl
Pshaw, y'all niggas want war
Y'all got it backwards, y'all should want raw
Y'all should want more 

The timeline suggested by Bun makes it really difficult to tell. Though “Get Throwed” came out in 2005, Bun claims this is something that came “before” his beef with Nas. What that means is anyone's guess; is Bun referring to how far Jay's relationship with the person goes back, or the period in which Jay was angered enough to pen these bars?

Things only really started to pick up between Jay and Nas around the turn of the century, but they had been trading subliminal shots for a lot of the mid-to-late 1990's. If Jay's animosity for someone in his crew goes back that far, it has to be someone real close. Either that, or Bun doesn't have the best grasp of the timeline, but he's the narrator here, so we gotta roll with it a little bit.

Here are a few of the strongest candidates.

Nas

I know, I know, Bun insists this is not about Nas. But you have to raise the question any time a Jay diss from that time period is mentioned, and it's not totally unfounded.

It's unclear whether the line about being a “lil schiz'” (short for schizophrenic) is referring to Jay himself or the person in question, but duplicity is something Jay attacked Nas hard for during their infamous battle. He referenced it briefly on “Takeover,” when he told the story about showing Nas his first Tec-9, but went even further on the title track of Blueprint 2. “Is it 'Oochie Wally Wally' or is it 'One Mic'? Is it 'Black Girl Lost' or shorty owe you for ice?”

The reference to “war” was also a trademark of his beef with the Queensbridge native. “If you want war then it's war it's gon' be,” he said on the BP2 intro, and he told the “little soldier” he wasn't ready for war on “Takeover.” There's a lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting Nas is the party in question.

But we'll take Bun's word for it on this one, and besides, by 2006 the two rappers were linking up for a song on Hip Hop Is Dead, the infamous “Black Republicans.” I doubt they'd be working together a year after “Get Throwed” if the battle was still raging on.

Dame Dash

Here's a candidate that would appear to fit all the criteria for a good target. Dame Dash and Jay have a long and storied history together, having partnered with Kareem “Biggs” Burke to launch Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996, and nothing can build resentment like the passage of time. As Bun mentioned, this was allegedly an internal struggle, and given how influential Dame and Jay's voices were in any internal Roc-A-Fella conversations, there's no doubt they had some serious battles over the years.

During the mid-2000s, as the Roc's star started to rise, Jay and Dame began to clash even more, eventually leading to their separation as business partners. In interviews about their split conducted in the years since, other members of the Roc have admitted that Dame got a little too big for his britches. Consider what Beanie Sigel said in 2012.

“Dame was spending a lot of company money, going on a lot of trips and to other business ventures, robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he said. “Taking money from outta here and trying to build a brand and stuff, without consulting with his partners. That's what sort of really brought demise to Roc-A-Fella.”

When Dame did take his talents elsewhere, he started up a completely new venture, Roc4Life (which would eventually become Dame Dash Music Group), and tried to undercut Jay by taking some of his talent. That would explain Jay referring to multiple people wanting war in his verse; the shade was directed at Dame, but it also hints at the artists flocking with him to a new label.

Of course, there's one group in particular the two parties had a massive conflict over.

Cam'ron and the Diplomats

This is the answer that probably makes the most sense. Killa Cam and the gang coming to Roc-A-Fella in the first place was primarily orchestrated by Dash, a childhood friend of Cam'ron, and Jay was never really on the inside track of that relationship. 

Though the partnership was successful and led to Cam's Come Home With Me going platinum on Roc-A-Fella, there was never a proper level of trust between all parties. Jim Jones and Dash accused Jay of stealing the beat that would become “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” during a studio session in 2001, claiming the track was originally promised to Cam'ron. To make matters worse, Jay was in Europe and out of the loop when Dame Dash announced at a 2002 listening party that Cam'ron would be promoted to Vice President of Roc-A-Fella; Jay denied the promotion over the phone, and it was all downhill from there.

As it relates to “Get Throwed,” the bars seen up top can probably be seen as a shot at the Diplomats and Dame Dash simultaneously. Dame went off and did his own thing starting in 2004 following the sale of Roc-A-Fella to Def Jam, and he brought his friends along with him. Saying “y'all should want more” could be taken as a hint to Cam'ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana that they were getting fucked over in whatever deal they had with Dash. Since Jay had worked with Dash for the majority of his career up until that point, he probably had an inkling of what they were in for.

Cam's first real shots at Jay didn't come until 2006 when he dropped “You Gotta Love It,” so Jay coming through with the subliminal in '05 may have been enough to prompt a full-scale attack from Cam and Co. later on. And if we're interpreting Cam's first Jay diss as a response to the bars on “Get Throwed,” there's even a not-so-subtle hint to back it up at the end of “You Gotta Love It.” Throwing the war line back at Jay, Cam apologizes to Beyoncé for what's about to go down with her man: “I'm sorry B, but I want a war.”

The real answer to the “Get Throwed” question is that it's probably intended to mock Dash, the Diplomats, and anyone else who was planning to team up with them in order to undermine Jay. The Diplomats were never really known as the most stable set of personalities in the world, so the schizophrenic nod could also be a nod to their eccentric, colorful (in Cam's case, literally colorful) personalities, which are either a flaw or a feature depending on how you feel about their music.

We'll probably never know if that's the answer for sure, because Jay doesn't do a whole lot of talking about old beef these days. But all signs point in this direction, so for now, it's what we'll choose to believe.

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Drake Denies Allegation That He Got Ex Porn Star Pregnant

Following his split with Jennifer Lopez, Drake was spotted dining out in Europe with former porn actress Rosee Divine. And now, what once was just a dinner in view of some paparazzi has led to allegations from the woman that Drizzy got her pregnant.

According to TMZ, Divine, who also goes by the name Sophie Brussaux, has procured the services of a pair of big name NYC lawyers to try and get child support. Divine/Brussaux claims to be three-and-a-half months pregnant, and believes that the date of conception was Jan. 20 or 21. Their dinner date took place Jan. 24.

She also says she has text messages from Drake where he asks her to have an abortion. Those messages reportedly read:

Drake: I want you to have an abortion.

Brussaux: I can't kill my baby simply to indulge you sorry.

Drake: Indulge me? Fuck you.

Brussaux: What?

Drake: You do know what you're doing you think you're going to get money.

Representatives for Drake told TMZ that Brussaux “[h]as a very questionable background,” and that “she's one of many women claiming [Drake] got them pregnant.” Furthermore, his rep says that if it is Drake's kid (which Drake doesn't believe) he would “do the right thing by the child.”

The rep is uncertain about the above text's authenticity, or the context in which Drake's alleged request was delivered, on account of not seeing it for themselves. And finally, that rep says Brussaux had sex with another major rapper (though who exactly that “major rapper” is isn't clear) and that that unnamed rapper has basically admitted to the fact that the child is his.

Brussaux's Instagram is set to private, and her Twitter account (or what appears to have been her Twitter account) is also private and inactive. A link to her Facebook from that account has been deleted, though for all we know that happened awhile ago. However, for curious minds who may be wondering what she looks like, but don't want to risk being flagged by HR, here was a shot from her IG posted in a TMZ gallery:

A selfie from former porn star Sophie Brussaux.
Image via Instagram

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How to Start Your Own Sneaker Brand

“If you want to start a footwear brand and compete with Nike or Adidas, you’ll need the funding of a small country and an army,” says No One founder and designer Mark Gainor sitting in a small studio lined with cobbler tools, shoe-making machines, and work benches in Venice, California.

The 38-year-old Gainor, who’s spent over a decade in the footwear industry working for Adidas, Gourmet, and Creative Recreation, knows a thing or two about designing, manufacturing, and marketing sneakers, and now he’s setting out on his own to bring handmade shoes to the public one pair at a time. But he’s not the only person who’s living the dream of owning their own sneaker brand. There’s been a rise in smaller footwear brands recently that straddle the line between sportswear and high fashion, including No One, Sonra, and John Geiger’s eponymous label. What’s it like launching your own sneaker brand? What are some of the challenges these upstart companies face? We spoke to the brains behind some of these rising companies to find out.   

The thought of having your own shoe — designing it from start to finish — has likely crossed everyone’s mind who obsesses about sneakers, but it takes more than just a piqued interest in shoes to bring a piece of footwear to life. There’s sketching the design, sourcing the materials, creating the last (the mold that gives a shoe its shape), finding a place to manufacture the product, and then selling it to the public. And a lot of money.

No One LA's Bravo sneaker.
No One LA's Bravo sneaker. Image via brand.

“Sneakerheads think this is easy, but I was in the warehouses in Italy and they said, ‘If this was so easy, then everyone would do it,’” says 31-year-old John Geiger, who launched his own sneaker brand last year after working with Nike on Darrelle Revis’s first signature sneaker and creating a successful line of custom Air Force 1s with shoe customizer The Shoe Surgeon over the past few years.

Making shoes isn’t for everyone, even if they have an idea in their head that they’ve wanted to execute. “There might be 10,000 who can draw a really fresh sneaker, but only 10 people out of that bunch can go out and make that shoe,” Gainor says. “Doing that in the America, and it’s 10 times more difficult.”

For Geiger, getting his shoe off the ground financially took drastic measures, and it required him to unload his love for other brands’ sneakers to create his own pair. “I funded it, I designed it, and the sole took a year because I wanted an air bladder in it,” he says. “Right before I moved from Pittsburgh to Miami, I sold my whole sneaker collection in bulk to make the sole mold. The sole mold was almost $15,000. A lot of people use pre-manufactured soles. They buy them from Margom. That’s the easier route. I went through, like, a million soles, but they’d send them with no air bladder. That’s not what I wanted.”

Although he didn’t provide an exact number, Gainor says that creating your own brand is going to cost much more than you’ve set out to spend. “You should do your research, talk to as many industry people as possible, then multiply that number by four [to find out how much it’s going to cost],” he says. “It is so expensive and so many things that can wrong. There are so many details that you’re going to overlook.”

Gainor and Geiger have both chose to manufacture their sneakers in the USA, and while it’s a more expensive process than making them in Asia, it gives them the quality and control that they’re looking for in their product. “I want to do something and be known for doing it in the USA, but I want it to have the quality of being made in Italy,” Geiger says.

John Geiger 001
John Geiger's 001 sneaker. Image via John Geiger

For Gainor, choosing to make his shoes domestically gave him the control and convenience that he didn’t have with previous companies. “I was flying [to China] 12 to 13 times a year. It got to the point where I was like, ‘Fuck this—if I could do this 10 minutes from my home, it would be a good thrill,’ he says. “You’re not going to get into high-quality facilities in Italy or China with the volume that we’re looking to create as a startup. If you’re able to produce your product domestically, it gives you the right amount of control. Unless you’re going to be a psycho and fly over to China to check on your shoes two times a month.”

Making shoes in the USA seems like a novel idea to some consumers, but they’ll also pay the price, literally, for buying domestically manufactured sneakers. “You’re going to pay so much to make a domestic product, you just have to make that back with marketing the product,” Gainor says. “It’s the only way you can justify making product here. It’s going to cost you two to five times more to make shoes domestically.”

Factories located outside of Asia, whether they’re in Europe or the U.S., aren’t able to pump out the same quantity of sneakers on a daily basis, which presents its own set of problems to those trying to start their own brand. Hikmet Sugoer, who founded German sneaker boutique Solebox and started his own brand after selling and leaving the business, has started his own sneaker line, Sonra, and makes premium running sneakers in Germany. “The biggest problem is dealing with a small factory, because they have a maximum that they can produce per year,” Sugoer, 44, says. “I forecasted a small quantity, and now there’s no possibility to [make more shoes]. You’re dependent on the factory, especially if you want to produce regionally, because there aren’t many factories around. If I were to produce in Asia, it would be much easier, but producing in Europe is much harder.”

Sonra's Proto sneaker in the
Sonra's Proto sneaker in the “Bae” colorway. Image via Hanon

Once the shoe is made, selling and marketing it is the next challenge that faces someone who starts their own sneaker company. And it can make or break the brand. The process, however, all starts with making a good shoe, as simple as it may seem. “Marketing and design impact each other. If you nail a design, it’s going to market itself. So the hard work is in developing or designing the shoe that’s truly innovative,” Gainor says. “There are so many silhouettes that look and feel the same that occupy the same space, so the marketing becomes much more difficult. If your product doesn’t stand out, then you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to make people notice it in today’s market, especially with big players like Nike and Adidas making shoes.”

Experience in the sneaker industry will help you launch your own sneaker brand, but having a recognizable name in that same space will get more people to pay attention at the start. Sugeor’s had his hand in some of the most coveted sneaker collaborations over the past decade and has built a cult-like following, where he’s applied his older colorways to his new shoes. The same people who craved his old sneakers wanted a pair of Sonras. “Without proving myself with my work in the past, this wouldn’t be possible,” he says. “It’s not easy to put your sneakers in top-tier stores. I sell my shoes at Hanon, 24 Kilates, and Patta. This wouldn’t be possible if people didn’t know me. It’s because they know me from my work that I did while I was at Solebox.”

Designing a great shoe, selecting the right materials, and finding the right marketing strategy are what it takes to make a successful shoe, as well as a little bit of luck, financial planning, and the right co-signs. But you’re not going to make it far within the footwear industry without hard work and, ultimately, a passion for sneakers. “If you work in this industry, it’s a given that you’re passionate about sneakers. To deal with everything that’s going to happen, you’re going to need a real love for footwear. The downside is that it might make you crazy, thinking you fucked up a colorway,” Gainor says. “I’ve learned to go through my design process and live with and accept my mistakes. I realize that we’ve made the very best shoe that we’ve made today. We can all make a better shoe tomorrow.”

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Nevada Approved Syringe Vending Machines to Combat the Heroin Crisis

With reports by the Center for Disease Control showing the number of heroin-related overdose deaths quadrupling between 2002 and 2013, drug treatment centers are looking to alternative methods that get around a recent congressional ban on federally funded syringe exchange programs. One such example is a new joint effort by the Southern Nevada Health District, the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society, and Trac-B Exchange, which uses vending machines to distribute clean needles.

Instead of cash, credit, or debit cards, the vending machines use a combination of an ID card and a PIN number. In return, the machine vends a nondescript kit containing alcohol wipes, syringes, safe sex supplies, and a disposal box. While Nevada is the first state in the U.S. to introduce a syringe vending machine, similar programs have been launched in Europe and Australia.

“This is a harm reduction approach,” said Trac-B Exchange Program Manager Chelsi Cheatom, while speaking with Las Vegas NBC affiliate SLV3. “By providing them with clean syringes as well as other clean instruments they can use, they are reducing the risk of sharing any items and they are also reducing the risk of reusing.”

The harm reduction approach has been debated, given how similar epidemics in low-income black and Latino communities were treated in past decades.

“When the perception of the user population is primarily people of color, then the response is to demonize and punish,” noted Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, in a 2015 article published in The Atlantic. “When it's white, then we search for answers. Think of the difference between marijuana attitudes in the ‘reefer madness’ days of the 1930s when the drug was perceived to be used in the ‘racy’ parts of town, and then the 1960s (white) college town explosion in use.”

As for the syringe vending machines, they will be located at Trac-B Exchange, Aid for AIDS Nevada (AFAN) and the Community Counseling Center. Program organizers say drug users aren’t required to stop using drugs or enroll in one of the recovery programs in order to use the machines.

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Austrian Duo LEYYA Has an Indie Summer Hit on Their Hands With “Zoo”

Austrian duo LEYYA (Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer) make creative modern pop music, drawing on far-ranging influences. Last year they released their debut, Spanish Disco, on the whole a moody record filled with spacious electronic production and ghostly vocals. Since then, they've toured heavily in Europe, and their track “Superego” has broken two million of streams on on Spotify. Today, they're back with new music.

“Zoo” starts off with a flourish of sitar and gentle vocals, but when that hook comes in it's all systems go, with brass and bouncy percussion. “The Idea for ‘Zoo’ came while watching a sitar lesson on the internet,” LEYYA explains. “It set a certain mood we wanted to transfer to our song, as well, so it’s quite meditative, but combined with our way of songwriting.”

Listen to “Zoo” above, and get ready to have this one in prime summer rotation. Check out their 2016 album Spanish Disco below and keep up with LEYYA on Twitter here.

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