Ooh, la-la-la. JAY-Z continues to deliver cinematic visuals for standout songs off his recently-released 13th studio album, 4:44. The latest comes in the form of “Moonlight,” yet another track off the ultra-personal project.
Directed by Alan Yang, the visual works, in part, as a modern iteration of “Friends” with an all-black cast, including Issa Rae (Rachel), Jerrod Carmichael (Ross), Tessa Thompson (Monica), Tiffany Haddish (Phoebe), Lil Rel Howery (Joey), Lakeith Stanfield (Chandler), and Hannibal Buress, who plays himself.
Many of the video’s stars take part in a fun recreation of the famous “Friends” intro. Instead of The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You,” this one is soundtracked by Whodini’s classic “Friends,” which was sampled by Nas and Lauryn Hill for “If I Ruled the World.”
But instead of playing like an ordinary episode of “Friends,” the visual takes on a new dynamic when Rae leads a worried Carmichael out of the studio and into a majestic park, where he can reflect on the moonlight. This follows Buress’ opinion that the show is “basura.”
When Carmichael finally makes it out of the studio, infamous audio from the Academy Awards plays in the background. “And the Academy Award for best picture…La La Land” can be heard. The soundbite highlights the mistake that was made when Moonlight should have been awarded the prestigious prize. “We’re stuck in la la land,” raps JAY-Z. “Even when we win, we gon’ lose.”
An extended version of the video “With Outtakes” also arrived today. It features some more seemingly improvised lines from Carmichael, Buress, and Howery.