Beginning with the mysterious New York City promotion of Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, to obscure visuals, to its final unveiling on June 30, it’s clear that Hov is taking his time with our digestion of the project.
As he continues to unwrap his 13th magnum opus piece by piece, his latest installment to 4:44 has shed even more light on one of its most pressing and prevalent topics: his marriage with Beyoncé.
The album’s original 10 tracks include an abundance of gems for Black America, such as acquiring wealth, stability and the mental transformation into grown manhood. When we arrived at the revelatory “4:44” title track, however, Hov bled untapped honesty with respect to his nine-year marriage with Queen Bey. And his short film, Footnotes for 4:44, following up “Footnotes for the Story of O.J.,” is now helping that honesty along.
Hov begins by recollecting his first time meeting his father, an introduction he felt gave him the freedom to love. He admits, however, that while he was afforded the liberty of love, there was never a blueprint on how to love. This influenced one of his key messages to Bey on the track.
“No one informs you how to do it,” he expressed. “You don’t even have the tools to do it.’ ‘I don’t know. But I’m gonna do it.’ That’s why I say, ‘You matured faster than me. I wasn’t ready.'”
The men’s perspectives of other familiar faces from all corners of Hollywood are also sprinkled throughout the film, such as Chris Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Jesse Williams, Meek Mill, Mahershala Ali and even Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery. Jay revisits his discussion of his power matrimony with Bey after viewers hear thoughts from Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving about seemingly flawless relationships.
“This is my real life,” Jay reveals. “I ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth, and then it starts cracking, and then things start happening that the public can see.”
In other small clips of Hov’s testimony, he shares how he and Bey first deconstructed their relationship to build it back up, which was one of the most challenging things he’s done even as a man bred from the streets of Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects.
“We had to go to a point where it was like, ‘Tear this down and let’s start from the beginning,'” he said. “It’s hard. Remember, I’m from Marcy Projects. [I’ve been] shot at. Nothing is harder than this. By far, I’m telling you, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Most humans, us, we’re not willing to put ourselves through that. Most people give up.”
Hit play on yet another powerful 4:44 testimonial from Jay below.
(Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for NARAS)