JAY-Z shows a side of himself that his fans don't see very often.
In a mini-documentary to accompany his latest album, 4:44, the 47-year-old rapper vulnerably talks about his nine-year marriage to Beyonce, and the ups and downs they have faced while in the public eye. "This is my real life. 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," he says. "Things start happening that the public can see."
JAY-Z adds that fighting to keep his marriage together was one of the biggest challenges of his life. "Then we had to get to a point of, ‘Okay, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning,'" he admits. "It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done."
The hip-hop mogul even recalls begging Beyonce to stay with him during a vacation. "What is happening to my body right now?" he remembers saying to himself. "Did I just say, 'Don't leave'? All this is new for me."
JAY-Z's album release comes over a year after Beyonce dropped Lemonade, which follows a woman's emotional journey after finding out that her husband has cheated on her. The father of three says prior to coming out with 4:44, he had his wife listen to it first, before anyone else. "We just got to a place where, in order for this to work, this can’t be fake," he continues. "Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was."
Also featured in the mini-documentary is Chris Rock, Will Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Paul, Jesse Williams, Aziz Ansari, Mahershala Ali and Meek Mill, who also talk about the struggles they've faced in their relationships.