The Brooklyn-born mogul goes deep in his latest songs, which seem to be in response to his wife's revelatory tunes. In the tracks, he discusses marriage problems, the pressures of raising his children in the public eye, and infidelity. And he's not leaving us with just the lyrics. JAY-Z created videos to accompany each song, called Footnotes, which takes the album's messages one step further.
On Monday, the multi-hyphenate entertainer talked about love, relationships, and making marriage work under public scrutiny in a candid video released on his music streaming service, Tidal. He was joined by the likes of Jesse Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Aziz Ansari, Chris Rock, Will Smith, and Anthony Anderson, who also shared their thoughts on the subjects.
"This is my real life," JAY-Z stated about his almost ten-year marriage to 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."
"Things start happening that the public can see," he recounted of that low place in his life. "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."
He recalled a story from early in their relationship, when he seemingly realized he was truly in love. Without saying the Peabody Award winner's name, he narrated: "I was on a boat, and I had the best time. I was like, 'Man, this is great.' Then she had to leave."
JAY-Z was devastated. "'Man, I don't even feel like this,'" he continued. "'What is happening to my body right now?' I don't even feel like this. Did I just say, 'Don't leave?'"
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He ultimately concluded that their marriage couldn't go on without a major dose of honesty. JAY-Z admitted that he let Beyoncé listen to 4:44 in its entirety before releasing it. "We've been in that space where we just got to the place that in order for this to work, it can't be fake—not once," he divulged. "I'm not saying it wasn't uncomfortable because obviously it was, but because we've been doing it for so long it was less uncomfortable."
Though our emotions are doing a tailspin right now, we're looking forward to more of the album's Footnotes!