The eight-minute-long collage of spliced videos from both black culture and his personal life, including footage of Blue Ivy, who raps on the album. Members of the Bey Hive are vexed by Jay-Z's focus on his infidelity and are questioning both his contrition and the potential aspersions it could cast on Beyoncé.
Let's examine why the Bey Hive may feel particularly ambivalent by Jay-Z's music. For many Beyoncé stans, there's the sense that 4:44 takes away the thematic anger and empowerment from Lemonade.
Beyoncé's music has always been highly personal in nature, and has followed the evolution of her life from a member of Destiny's Child to a single woman to mother and wife. Her themes have always been consistent: dominion over her own universe while still propping up those around her. She's always unapologetically herself while revelling in the love she feels for whatever role she's undertaking. With Lemonade, in particular, she turns her husband's infidelity into a reason to highlight other black women, showing us that there is much more power in formation than in pain.
Jay-Z, meanwhile, is undercutting Beyoncé's themes by taking away that agency. She already worked through that very difficult time in their marriage, and did so by appealing to her own personal strength and most importantly, the strength of those around her. By removing that context in 4:44, it could be argued that Jay-Z is making this about himself. Jay-Z wouldn't have needed to apologise had he not cheated on his wife in the first place.
You can watch the video below, but at the moment it is only viewable if you have a Tidal account.
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