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Jay-Z Discusses How His Marriage to Beyoncé Wasn’t Built on ‘100 Percent Truth’

3 minute read

Following the release of his 13th studio album, 4:44, Jay Z is continuing to open up about his relationship with Beyoncé.

While Hov already rapped about what many perceived as his infidelity (something that’s been a topic of conversation from the beginning of their nearly two-decade relationship and especially following the release of her visual album Lemonade) on the the album’s title track, it looks like the Brooklyn rapper has more to get off his chest.

In a new video titled “Footnotes for 4:44,” Jay talks about his relationship with his father and he discusses a relationship that was lacking a foundation of complete honesty.

“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 then it starts cracking,” he said. “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 hard. Remember we just talked about me: I’m from Marcy Projects. I’ve been shot at. But nothing is harder than this. By far. I’m telling you, 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.”

For the clip, Jay also recruited luminaries such as LeBron James, Chris Rock, Will Smith, Jesse Williams, Mahershala Ali, and Kendrick Lamar to discuss the challenges and complexities of black masculinity and romantic relationships.

Later, Jay Z shares an intimate memory from a vacation about when he realized how precious his relationship to Beyoncé.

“I was on a boat, and I had the best time,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave. 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.”

Jay Z also reveals in the video that he played the track for Beyoncé long before the record’s release.

“We’ve been in that space where we just got to a place where, in order for this to work, this can’t be fake,” he said. “Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously, it was. But because we’ve been doing this for so long, it was less uncomfortable.”

The full clip is available for Tidal subscribers here.

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com