No matter where you rank JAY-Z's new album, 4:44 in his long discography (it's probably too early to truly do so), there's no denying that this record is a game-changer—for him as an artist and a man, and potentially for hip-hop as it continues to mature and evolve. Maybe it's his most important album ever.

The material on Jay's 4:44 isn't really new—the focus on building generational wealth, the disenfranchisement of black folks, the focus on black financial empowerment, and the raw, sometimes gut wrenching honesty about the maturation of his outlook as a man as he evolves in his relationships, both business and personal. But coming from JAY-Z, it matters. A lot.

Now, on the heels of dropping his video for "4:44," he's released the footnotes to the video, following in the same pattern for his release of "The Story of OJ." The footnotes are incredibly revealing, and honest. In the clip, he enlists the help of A-List celebrity men, who candidly discuss relationships and love, masculinity and women, including Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Chris Paul, Jesse Williams, Aziz Ansari, Mahershala Ali, Lil Rel and more. But it's Jay's openness about his marriage to Beyoncé that is particularly impactful, as he speaks about the emotional toll that his his near break-up had on both him and her.

“This is my real life," he says. "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. Then we had to get to a point of ‘Okay, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning … It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Being shot at, growing up in Marcy Projects— he alludes that keeping his marriage was harder than both of those things. At point, he talks about when he reached a breaking point in his marriage, while he was on vacation with Beyoncé, and how he begged her not to leave.

“What is happening to my body right now? Did I just say … ‘Don’t leave’? All this is new for me,” he says.

Later, he says that played "4:44" for Beyoncé early.

“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.”

Watch the clip via Tidal below.


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