Jay-Z remakes Friends in the video for the thought-provoking track “Moonlight” off his latest album, 4:44. The rapper released the video via Tidal, like previous clips, promptly at 4:44 p.m. Friday.
Get Out star Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield and comedian Jerrod Carmichael play the male protagonists, while Insecure creator Issa Rae, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish and Tessa Thompson take on the female roles. Hannibal Buress makes a guest appearance as himself midway through the clip.
Lauded as one of the more unexpected tracks on an album already rife with controversial topics, including his marital infidelities, his fallout with longtime pal Kanye West, and even that headline-making Met Gala elevator incident back in 2014, “Moonlight” stands out as a direct jab at the industry itself.
“We stuck in La La Land / Even when we win, we lose / We got the same fuckin’ flows / I don’t know who is who,” the rapper croons over a sample of Teena Marie’s “Ooo La La La” (also famously used on The Fugees’ “Fu-Gee-La”). In February, Barry Jenkins-helmed “Moonlight” took home the Oscar for Best Picture, but not before a careless blunder marred the moment.
“It’s like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight,” Jay-Z told iHeartRadio of the song’s message shortly after 4:44‘s release. “It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”
For the video, Jay-Z inserts audio of the Oscar Best Picture mixup at the end of the clip.