Last month, Jay Z publicly responded to Beyoncé’s soul-baring Lemonade album with a soul-baring record of his own: 4:44. On the title track, Jay Z apologized to his wife for cheating on her. And on Monday, Jay Z released a “footnotes” video for the title song (via Tidal
), during which he and several celebrity friends like Kendrick Lamar, Will Smith, and Chris Rock discuss the themes of the track. In doing so, Jay Z finds himself offering more personal details about what went wrong in his marriage.
“This is my real life,” Jay Z says, before addressing the problems that arose in his marriage. “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.”
Towards the end of the video, Jay Z remembers a time when he actually begged Beyoncé to stay with him on vacation, rather than leave, as she had previously planned.
“I was on a boat, and I had the best time,” Jay Z recalls. “I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave. . .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’?”
In another clip from the track’s “footnotes,” Jay Z admits that he played 4:44 for Beyoncé pretty early in the recording process. And yes, that was awkward.
“We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake,” Jay Z explains. “Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”