On his recently released album 4:44, Jay-Z uses the title track to air out his regrets about cheating on his wife, Beyoncé. Now, the MC has expanded on those feelings in an 11-minute short film that serves as an addendum to “4:44.”
The “footnotes” video features commentary from Kendrick Lamar, Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, Will Smith, and more celebrities, all of whom candidly discuss the challenges of love and relationships. The typically guarded Jay, for his part, opens up about his once-fractured marriage with Beyoncé.
“I just 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 it starts cracking,” he says. “Things start happening that the public can see. Then we had to get to a point of ‘OK, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning.’ 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.”
The most revealing part comes near the end of the video, when Jay recalls begging Beyoncé to stay with him while on vacation. That moment, he says, made him realize just how deeply he loves her.
“I was on a boat, and I had the best time. I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave,” Jay says. “I was, like, crushed: ‘Man, I don’t even feel like this. What is happening to my body right now? I don’t even feel like this. Did I just say... ‘Don’t leave’? All this is new for me.”
In a later clip filmed in his studio surrounded by friends, Jay-Z also reveals that he played “4:44” for Beyoncé early on: “We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake. Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable, because obviously it was.”
You’ll need Tidal to watch the video in full, though you can watch a clip below.