As if Jay-Z‘s confessional 4:44 wasn’t enough, the rapper has newly released an addendum to his raw and revealing album, a short documentary film titled “Footnotes for 4:44.”
The 11-minute video includes interviews with some of Hollywood and the music industry’s most famous men of color – from Kendrick Lamar to Will Smith to Chris Rock to Spike Lee – opening up about topics ranging from toxic masculinity to black love.
Hova himself opens up about his tumultuous marriage to Beyoncé, explaining the reasons why he struggled to both maintain the relationship, and then rebuild it once he broke her trust (the rapper chronicles the ups and downs of their love, including his infidelity and an infamous 2014 elevator incident with Solange, throughout 4:44).
“What I thought … when I met my dad was, ‘Oh, you’re free to love now,'” he says in the clip. “But it’s like, yeah, OK, but how’re you gonna do it? You wanna do it, I get it. Now how’re you gonna do this? You’ve never done this before, no one informed you how to do this. You don’t even have the tools to do it.”
The hip-hop artist continues: “This is my real life. 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. 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, you know what I mean? We’re not willing to put ourselves through that. Most people give up.”
The multi-hyphenate even compared fighting for his relationship to growing up in the Marcy Projects and being shot at, noting that rebuilding their relationship was scarier, and more challenging, than living in the hood.
In the “Footnotes” clip, Jay-Z also reflects on the moment when he finally woke up to the reality that he could lose the mother of his child because of his actions.
“I was on a boat, and I had the best time. I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave,” he says. “I was, like, crushed. I was like, ‘Man, I don’t even feel like this. What is happening to my body right now?’ I was like, ‘Don’t go.’ I was like, ‘Did I just say … all this is new for me. Don’t leave.'”
On the titular track, Jay-Z addresses his adultery head-on: “I apologize, often womanize/ Took for my child to be born/ See through a woman’s eyes/ Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/ Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you.” His confessional album is seen by fans and critics as the response to Beyoncé’s seminal 2016 album Lemonade, which identified infidelity as the root of their relationship troubles.
Toward the end of the clip, Jay-Z sums up the couple’s decision to stay together, and his vow to put in the effort to make their marriage work.
“We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake,” he says. “Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”
Jay-Z released the music video for 4:44 just a few days prior, on Friday, July 7th.