JAY-Z has said his marriage to Beyoncé was not “totally built on the 100 per cent truth”, which, well, kind of implies the rapper’s marriage to his singer wife was built on at least 0.001 per cent lies.
Just in case the themes of the rapper’s confessional album 4:44 (which has widely been interpreted as a confirmation of rumours he had previously been unfaithful during the couple’s marriage) were not clear enough, JAY-Z has released an accompanying short documentary film entitled, aptly, Footnotes for 4:44.
In the film (which features prominent men of colour in Hollywood, including Will Smith and Kendrick Lamar, speaking on romance and toxic masculinity), JAY-Z speaks about his marriage breakdown and re-build.
“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 per cent truth and it starts cracking,” he says.
“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. Most humans, us, you know what I mean? We’re not willing to put ourselves through that: most people give up.”
The “things” referenced by the rapper are most likely the now infamous “elevator” incident, where surveillance video emerged of JAY-Z’s sister-in-law, Solange Knowles, yelling at him before hitting and kicking him in an elevator after the 2014 Met Gala.
At the time, the pair released a joint statement.
“Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred,” the statement read. “They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologised to each other and we have moved forward as a united family.”
At the time, it was unclear what had caused the lash-out.
In Footnotes to 4:44, JAY-Z goes on to describe the moment he realised his behaviour could possibly spell the end of his marriage.
“I was on a boat, and I had the best time. I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave,” he says. “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.'”
At the end of the interview, JAY-Z explains the couple’s decision to stay together.
“We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake,” he says. “Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”
Suspicions JAY-Z had been unfaithful in his marriage were somewhat confirmed last year with the release of Beyoncé’s Lemonade album, which detailed her husband’s affair with a woman known as “Becky with the good hair”.
It has been suggested that JAY-Z’s 4:44 is a response (or, perhaps a complementary piece) to Lemonade.
On the album’s titular track, JAY-Z describes himself as one to “often womanise”, apologising for his actions.
“Took me too long for this song, I don’t deserve you,” the song continues.
Three years after the elevator incident, Beyoncé’ and JAY-Z’s relationship appears to be going strong.
The couple, who are already parents to five-year-old Blue Ivy, are believed to have welcomed twins last month, although there has been no official birth announcement.