Update: The video for “Moonlight” is now available on Youtube.
Make no mistake, Jay-Z’s music has always been thought-provoking. Dropping his debut album at the age of 26 practically made him an elder-statesmen in rap even if he only had one album, and Jay has always held the mantle of one of rap’s wisest sages. Still, even he admitted he “dumbed down” his content to easily appeal to the masses, but now at 47, Jay is doing no such thing and every aspect of content from his new album 4:44 has been poignant and complex.
If Jay touching on issues like financial literacy and social injustice weren’t enough, the visuals from 4:44 have taken the already dense album to another level, and provided additional layers to sift through. The mini-documentary series “Footnotes” has been riveting, but all of that may be topped by the newest video from the album, “Moonlight.”
The visual appears to be lighthearted, as an episode of Friends is reimagined with all black actors The episode features Lil Rel Howery from Get Out, Lakeith Stanfield from Atlanta, and Jerrod Carmichael playing Joey, Chandler and Ross, respectively. On the ladies side, Insecure’s Issa Rae stars as Rachel, Tiffany Haddish plays Phoebe and Tessa Thompson plays Monica. It’s all neat to see, complete with the actual Friends set and the intro with Whodini’s 1984 classic “Friends” as the theme song.
From there, the video evolves into something much more, with Hannibal Buress acting as the voice of reason as Jerrod slowly realizes just what he’s signed up for. It’s a captivating watch, and sets the stage for whatever Jay has in store for the rest of the album.