It's been roughly a month since JAY-Z confirmed the long-brewing rumors that he'd cheated on Beyoncé, but already, it looks like he's committing those words to screen. In a teaser released Thursday for JAY-Z and Beyoncé's "Family Feud" video, the rapper feeds into themes of infidelity, betrayal, and forgiveness, paralleling the publicly documented affair that nearly tore apart his marriage.
In keeping with the song's title, the visual features the Carter-Knowles clan interspersed throughout a cathedral church. JAY-Z walks he and Beyoncé's daughter, Blue Ivy, down the central aisle, while Queen B towers over the pulpit in a regal, Pope-esque gown. Love scenes of an unidentified man and woman flash in between, until things suddenly shift from sexy to violent as the woman, quite literally, stabs the man in the back. JAY-Z then settles into a confessional booth, where Beyoncé sits on the other side, seemingly waiting to hear his sins.
"Family Feud," set for release Friday on TIDAL, marks yet another intimate glimpse at JAY-Z and Beyoncé's elusive private lives. Though notoriously reserved, the couple has been more candid about the inner-workings of their marriage in recent years, first with Beyoncé's emotionally bare 2016 album, Lemonade, then with JAY-Z's introspective June record, 4:44. Together, they play as a sort of call and response. Where Beyoncé belts, "You better call Becky with the good hair" on "Sorry," Jay retorts, "Leave me alone, Becky" on "Family Feud."
The video, then, serves as the culmination between the two. Gossip surrounding JAY-Z's infidelity has been circulating since at least 2014, when the infamous elevator confrontation between him and Beyoncé's sister, Solange, went viral. When Beyoncé put out Lemonade two years later, speculation intensified, and again when JAY-Z released 4:44.
However, it wasn't until November that JAY-Z finally addressed the rumors. He didn't go into any specifics about who he cheated with or when, but he did acknowledge that it happened, saying that because of the way he grew up, he went into "survival mode." Through therapy, he came to understand that he and other men who were raised in neighborhoods like his, the Marcy projects, don't want anyone else to see their pain, so they close themselves off. As he told T: The New York Times Style Magazine,
"You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode what happen? You shut down all emotions. So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can't connect ... And then all the things happen from there: infidelity."
Thus far, JAY-Z has stayed behind the camera for many of his 4:44 videos: "The Story of O.J." is a four minute-long animated clip, while the more recently unveiled "Marcy Me," "Legacy," and "Smile" unfold like short, narrative-driven films, actors included. That means that "Family Feud" is not only one of the few 4:44 visuals JAY-Z appears in, but the first time fans will see him and Bey together on screen since his years-in-the-making confession. Given the song's autobiographical resonance, the story they pair with it should be an indicator for where their relationship stands today, or at the very least, a peek into what was going on behind scenes during all those years of silence.
It should also act as a prelude to the collaborative album JAY-Z told T in the same interview that he and Beyoncé are working on. They've teamed up for music in the past, but rarely since the cheating allegations surfaced (JAY-Z isn't featured on Lemonade, while "Family Feud" is the only 4:44 track Beyoncé appears on). To see them together, after the storm, should give fans a deeper understanding of both where their art is coming from and where it might go from here.