Adnis

Album: 4:44 (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • The song's title comes from the name of Jay-Z's late father, Adnis Reeves, who walked out on the family when the rapper was just 12 years old. They later reconciled, but Reeves' health was poor due to his alcoholism and he died shortly afterwards.
  • The track finds Jay rapping about a letter to his dad he "never wrote" in which he recounts regretting that he never got to share certain thoughts and feelings with him.

    And smoke Newports just like you
    But you left me, now I'm goin to court just like you
    I would say "My daddy loves me and he'll never go away"
    Bulls--t, do you even remember December's my birthday?
  • Jay has rapped about his father in the past, most notably on 2000's "Where Have You Been": He has also alluded to their strained relationship on the songs "Jay-Z Blue" and "Meet The Parents."
  • The video comes courtesy of One-Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go filmmaker Mark Romanek. The director previously shot Jay-Z's "99 Problems" and "Picasso Baby" clips.

    The black and white visual stars Mahershala Ali, winner of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Moonlight, and Danny Glover, who is best known for his leading role as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series. Ali plays a boxer who we see working a punch bag with assistance from his trainer, played by Glover.
  • Speaking on a TIDAL "footnotes" video, Jay detailed how as he grew older, his more mature outlook changed the way that he viewed his father:

    "All my songs up this point have been about anger with my dad. Like, 'You left and I didn't see you for all these years and you don't mean s--t and I don't f--k with you.' As an adult, I look back on the situation and I have a different perspective on it. My dad married my mother at a time when everyone was leaving. He tried. My mom had four kids by 20, I was her youngest child. They were young… That don't check the box of somebody that wasn't s--t. He married this woman with four kids and they was together for 11 years. So now the story gets different, because you wasn't the scumbag who just broke out. What happened to you?"
  • When Jay-Z was nine years old his Uncle Ray was stabbed to death outside a Brooklyn club. The murder hit Jay's father hard and it resulted in him becoming an alcoholic and a heroin addict, as he struggled to cope with the pain of losing his brother.

    Unc in a better place but you couldn't function
    Shot junk in your arms, more than your veins was punctured


    Jay noted: "My uncle got stabbed and it put my dad with this weird place. He went through depression and started using drugs, and it became this slippery slope. And he couldn't face his children at some point. It wasn't that he was leaving, it was, 'Oh I'm embarrassed now. I'm not even myself anymore so now I can't come to you as myself.' And that was the separation. And when you look at it through that scope, that lens, you don't look at it from such a harsh view. You look at it like, 'Life f---s you up, I'm sorry that happened to you. I wish you would have told me. I wish you could have said something to me… I could have helped you.'"

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