Yeezy has anointed himself "Steve of the Internet"
Long-time partners in crime Kanye West and Jay-Z are grabbing headlines for new albums arriving two years after their joint effort, "Watch the Throne."
West's not-so-subtly titled "Yeezus" arrives Tuesday; Jay-Z used Samsung commercial Sunday night to reveal that his "Magna Carta Holy Grail" will go on sale July 4 (and 72 hours earlier for Samsung mobile).
Both consider themselves modern-day gods. Here's another more down-to-Earth thought:
Kanye West is Steve Jobs, and Jay-Z is Bill Gates.
It's a comparison Kanye started himself, anointing himself "Steve of Internet" in this extensive (and delightful) interview with the New York Times' Jon Caramanica.
He may not be far off. Like Jobs, Kanye is a creative genius that may be imitated but cannot be replicated. He is self-aggrandizing, erratic and prone to missteps — remember that confrontation with Taylor Swift on stage at the 2009 Video Music Awards? Or Jobs' feuds with … everyone?
Though Kanye apologized at first for the Swift incident, he told Caramanica that the incident "only led me to complete awesomeness at all times."
Indeed, Kanye is more dynamic at his peak than anyone else in his profession. Thanks to albums like "The College Dropout" and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," he is the most influential rapper of the past decade — creatively.
The bombastic beats, the boom of electronic-fueled rap, the rappers trying to be singers (auto-tune, anyone?) — it all begins with Yeezy.
And Jobs? Well, just look at all the iPhone rip-offs.
Then there's Jay.
Jay-Z isn't as sexy an interview or as groundbreaking creatively as his former producer, but no rapper has been more consistent over a longer period of time.
He released an album in 1996, "Reasonable Doubt," that would go on anyone's list of the 50 greatest rap albums of all-time. Then, 16 years later, he and West released "Watch the Throne," which Rolling Stone ranked the second best album of the year.
In between he made a pair of iconic albums "The Blueprint" and "The Black Album," pulled a Michael Jordan and retired, launched Rihanna's career and conceived a new anthem for the biggest city in the country, "Empire State of Mind."
Though he has been surpassed at various times by West, Eminem, Lil Wayne and others, he's never fallen outside the elite group of active rappers.
The same could be said about Microsoft, which Gates' co-founded in 1975.
Like Kanye to Jay-Z, Apple has always been sleeker than Microsoft and has spent the past decade as everyone's favorite company. But don't forget that during the late '80s and '90s, Apple almost went out of business while Microsoft almost took over the world — only to be saved by Bill Gates.
Once so successful the United States accused it of being a monopoly, it may have since surrendered its perch atop the technology world to Apple, Google and Samsung, but it has never stopped churning out profits, as Gates has sat atop his Microsoft empire for decades, building a company that was ubiquitous thanks to Windows and, later, Xbox.
Until the iPhone and iTunes came along, chances are you used a Microsoft product. And chances are before 2004's "The College Dropout" came along, you were listening to a Jay-Z track, whether it's "99 Problems" or "Hard Knock Life."
This comparison extends well beyond music.
Both Jay and Gates married strong, independent women — Melinda Gates and Beyoncé — and both have built their empires close to home, Seattle for Gates, New York for Jay-Z.
Both spent their more mature years moving beyond their initial careers into an equally successful second phase.
Gates became the world's foremost philanthropist, running a foundation with an endowment of more than $36 billion. Jay-Z has created the blueprint for how a rapper turns into a mogul without losing his street cred.
He launched a record label, a clothing line, restaurants and nightclubs before buying a stake in an NBA franchise — the Brooklyn Nets. Then he sold that stake to found a sports agency that has already signed one of the best players in baseball, Robinson Cano, and the second best player in the NBA, Kevin Durant.
Gates is still chairman of Microsoft, and Jay-Z still throws down raps but both have become a symbol of something far greater.
Sure, "Yeezus" will be more innovative than "Magna Carta." Yet Kanye promoted his album by spouting off in interviews, while Jay-Z made an ad with Samsung that earned him a million in sales and millions in cash before it hits stores.
Kanye will win a Grammy, Jay-Z will print money.
Last time we checked, even considering the size of Steve Jobs' trust, Bill Gates remains the richest man in the world.