Here, Jay-Z addresses divisions within the hip-hop community. There always have been beefs between rappers, especially between the different generations – indeed Jay-Z himself has been suspected of exchanging subliminal disses with the much younger Drake. This song is the Brooklyn MC's call for all hip-hop artists to get along. He explained to iHeart Radio:
"'Family Feud' is about separation within the culture. Like, new rappers fighting with old rappers, saying all these things. So, the line is, 'Nobody wins when the family feuds.'"
Jay's wife Beyoncé contributes background vocals throughout the song and also delivers its outro.
During her Lemonade track "Sorry" Beyoncé appeared to be raging at Jay-Z for cheating on her. She ended the song with the declaration:
He only want me when I'm not there He better call Becky with the good hair
Despite ongoing speculation about the identity of "Becky," the Carters never publicly spoke about the issue. However, during this song Jay drops a direct reference to Beyoncé's supposed rival, rapping:
Yeah, I'll f--k up a good thing if you let me Let me alone, Becky A man that don't take care his family can't be rich I'll watch Godfather, I miss that whole s--t
The song borrows elements from The Clark Sisters' 1980 gospel number "Ha Ya."
Al Sharpton in the mirror takin' selfies
This is reference to an Al Sharpton Instagram post from June 18, 2017, which instantly became a viral meme sensation. As 4:44 was released less than a fortnight later, on June 30, 2017, the lyric suggests that Jay was recording the record up until just a few days before it was dropped.
The song's epic, nearly eight-minute music video was shot by Selma director Ava DuVerna. The clip opens with a dramatic depiction of infidelity set in the year 2444 starring Michael B. Jordan and Thandie Newton before moving onto a roundtable discussion about the constitution featuring America's "founding mothers," who created the new world order in 2050. At the head of the table is an adult version of Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy, played by This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson. Her fellow leaders are portrayed by Rashida Jones, Constance Wu, Rosario Dawson, Niecy Nash, Janet Mock, Mindy Kaling and Brie Larson. Blue Ivy tells her fellow "founding mothers", "America is a family and the whole family should be free. It's like I remember my father saying when I was a little girl: Nobody wins when the family feuds."
Once the song kicks in, we're back in the year 2018 for a confessional booth church scene featuring Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Blue Ivy.
"Happy so many are enjoying our Family Feud Film!" DuVerna wrote on Twitter. "The first scene focuses on errors. All families hurt each other. Mistakes are made. Expectations unmet. Jealousies fester."