JAY-Z’s Turns His Apology To Beyonce Into A Powerful Short Film (Video)
JAY-Z has now made his second music video from 4:44 available to the masses. The title track from the No I.D.-produced album comes as a music video that is just as evocative as “The Story Of O.J.” with an entirely different medium and aesthetic.
The TNEG-directed “4:44” begins with three minutes of what appears to be mostly found footage. From sage thoughts on love from an older woman to video clips of street fights, hit-and-runs, and belligerent banter. There is a clear juxtaposition and bigger artistic intent. Some of the film and video is from the ’70s and ’80s, other parts reflect the types of contemporary ratchet imagery that has flooded pop culture.
In the song that allegedly started the whole album’s process, Jay sets a tone for just how vulnerable he is willing to get: “Took me too long for this song / I don’t deserve you/I harass you out in Paris / ‘Please come back to Rome, you make it home’ / We talked for hours when you were on tour / ‘Please pick up the phone, pick up the phone.’” The track is one of the many personal portals on the platinum album. The husband in what current popular culture may deem ‘the perfect marriage’ reveals that it’s not always what it seems. As the clips show “everyday people,” Jay perhaps is suggesting that he is not so different even with the fortune and fame. He alludes to infidelity, dishonesty, and a selfish past. The lyrics proceed to apologize to Bey’, and others for the things JAY-Z knows now, but could not see, then.
The music breaks for more pulled clips. Dancing, talking, car crashes, and more appear on screen. Jay’s next verse opens: “I apologize / Our love was one for the ages and I contained us / And all this ratchet sh*t and we more expansive / Not meant to cry and die alone in these mansions / Or sleep with our back turned / We supposed to vacay ’til our backs burn / We’re supposed to laugh ’til our heart stops / And then meet in a space where the dark stop.”
After the second verse, there is vintage footage of Jean-Michel Basquiat looking into the lens, saying he’s having fun, but appearing otherwise. Then there’s a cut into a 1970s Al Green performance from television. With Reverend Al’s “Judy” playing (possibly a symbolic move as it is from the Let’s Stay Together LP), the video cuts to Jay and Bey’ rocking a stage together, delighted. Perhaps this is the love that Jay sees, and what he’s fighting to maintain.
After a dancing sequence of actors featured throughout the video, the screen fades to blue.