Relationships can be tough, and that stands true for even the wealthiest, most successful and most talented duos out there—just ask Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The couple’s private life and marital issues were thrown into the spotlight with the release of Bey’s cathartic Lemonade, and now hubby Jay-Z is dropping even more truth bombs with his widely acclaimed 4:44 album. In the unapologetic compilation (and probable response to his wife’s own deeply personal album), the rapper refers to Becky (with the good hair) on “Family Feud,” recalls that infamous elevator fight with Solange on “Kill Jay-Z” and alludes to his infidelities on the title track. And now it seems Mr. Carter is prepared to delve even deeper into his nearly 10-year marriage with the superstar, creating videos on Tidal called Footnotes to accompany each of his soul-baring songs.
“This is my real life,” he shares, along with a group of celebrity buddies including Kendrick Lamar, Chris Rock and Will Smith who similarly open up about their own relationships. “I just ran into this place, and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100% truth, and it starts cracking. Things start happening that the public can see.”
From a rumored affair with singer Rita Ora to the Rachel Roy controversy that led to Bey’s chart-topping visual album, fans and followers had a front-row seat, and the rapper admits he finally had enough. “Then we had to get to a point of, ‘Okay, tear this down, and let’s start from the beginning,'” he says. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Bey even played a role in the album’s making, stopping by the studio and listening to the records before 4:44 was released. Jay simply didn’t want to move forward without honesty, and the process eventually allowed the two to reach a resolution. “We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake—not one ounce,” he says. “I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”
Watch the exclusive video here.