jay-z 444 video

Jay-Z ties together love and compromise for the video to 4:44‘s title track.

“A relationship is a relationship that has to be earned,” Earth Kitt says in “4:44,” the title track for Jay-Z’s recently released 13th studio effort. “Falling in love is beautiful but falling in love for the right reasons, for the right purpose…” The clip is taken All by Myself: The Eartha Kitt Story, the 1983 documentary in which Kitt gives a dazzling one woman show in regards to love and compromise as well as her career.

There is a compromise in what we choose to love and acknowledge. “4:44” hastily latches onto this motif via a wide number of viral clips that have dominated Twitter and beyond over the last five years. The Alabama leprechaun, fight videos, Donna Goodeau being legally blind. They’re acts of humor to Jay-Z, all the while he’s losing sight of the woman starring directly in front of him.

“4:44” contains a clip of Beyoncé and Jay performing “Drunk In Love” with the queen empress of the world not taking her eyes off of him. She is transfixed, happy and locked on to a man whom she loves with every part of her. It’s a sharp juxtaposition to his infidelity and causing that same glowing look of adornment to turn into resentment. “I seen the innocence leave your eyes,” Hov raps alongside the sample of Hannah Williams’ “Late Nights And Heartbreak”. “Your eyes leave with the soul that your body once housed.”

Love and compromise. We love the videos that amuse us, compromise time and effort that we should devout elsewhere. Although Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” was chief in uniting Jay with a letter to his unborn, here it is merely camouflage. Same with Al Green, powerful uniter of love and Basquait, the artist with whom Jay traffics so many paintings in order to keep up the Brooklyn artist’s legacy. The one outlier here is Fort Worth rapper Solo Lucci who discusses getting shot and the kind of reconciliation he has with God about it. To Hov, all the apologies from previous failures led to one compromise – the result of an act of love that gave the Carter family Blue Ivy. Love produced that.

Jay escaping the rest of his self-created demons? That’s another story. Watch a snippet of the “4:44” video directed by TNEG (Arthur Jafa and Elissa Blount Moorhead) below and see it in full on Tidal.