Jay Z

A Massive Star-Studded Trailer for Jay Z & Beyonce "Run" (Melina Matsoukas, dir.)

Holy crap. An all-star, action packed trailer for Jay Z and Beyonce first feature film coming... NEVER. So, breath a sigh of relief, since all involved surely know that this compilation of action flick cliches would be a clunker even by Hollywood crap standards.

That said: We get Beyonce at her hottest, Jay at his most badass and cast that would be the envy of any blockbuster: Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Guillermo Diaz, Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Blake Lively, Rashida Jones and Kidada Jones

And if you want to see Jay and Bey' on the run together: Go get your tickets for their tour — which is what this trailer is really meant to promote.

Timbaland Jay Z, Drake, James Fauntleroy "Know Bout Me (Lyric Video)" (Jennifer Trujillo, dir.)

New Director Jennifer Trujillo has crafted a creepy concept-driven video for Timbaland’s new single "Know Bout Me" (featuring Drake, James Fauntleroy and Jay-Z). Trujillo, who directs via A Common Thread, used an abandoned Los Angeles hospital for the backdrop of a story of a mysterious young woman’s search for Timbalands lost book. 

Jay Z & Justin Timberlake "Holy Grail" (Anthony Mandler, dir.)

There's a last days of Xanadu vibe here, with Jay Z and Justin Timberlake all alone at the top of the world, surrounded by the baubles that come with great wealth and success — an effect that's further emphasized by the periodically slurred-down audio.

Also of note is that this is the first Facebook exclusive premiere, with the video available exclusively via Facebook and giving Jay Z and Justin Timberlake unfettered reach to their combined 42 million followers (which if you know anything about how Facebook posts are limited unless boosted, you know the value of that promo is huge).

And it could be a good case study into whether people care about where or how they watch videos, so long as all the sharing/embedding features they expect are supported.

Jay Z "Picasso Baby" (Mark Romanek, dir.)

"I decided that I want to have a work that connects me more with the public, that concentrates … on the interaction between me and the audience.

I want to have a simple table, installed in the center of the atrium, with two chairs on the sides. I will sit on one chair and a square of light from the ceiling will separate me from the public.

Anyone will be free to sit on the other side of the table, on the second chair, staying as long as he/she wants, being fully and uniquely part of the Performance.

I think this work [will] draw a line of continuity in my career."

- Marina Abramovic, artist [in a letter to her curator about her 2010 MoMA show The Artist Is Present]

Director Mark Romanek Talks Jay Z, Marina Abromovic and Picasso Baby

Let's not shit ourselves: The new Jay Z video is an event, regardless of what you feel about the new album, his responsibilies as an artist, or the fact that as an astoundingly rich, well connected, smart, and powerful man he operates in rarefied circles

It premieres on HBO @ 11p tonight, immediately after his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. And it's not being called a video: It's a Performance Art Film. 

Director Mark Romanek — who occupies a similar position in the music video world as Jay does in the hip-hop world — talked about the video and its inspirations with Huffington Post

The admitted main influence is performance artist Marina Abromovich and her "one on one" staredown show at MOMA — documented in the HBO film Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. Romanek says, "What I pitched to Jay was: 'You regularly perform to 60 or 80,000 people at a time. What if you performed for one person at a time? What if it was like Marina's piece?"

And that reminds me of one of the advantages music video, or any music performance captured on video, over the live experience: The ability to focus. To get close. To provide angles and access that's not possible in even the smallest club, and certainly not in stadiums.

The interview is full of great insights, so I recommend you check it in full, but here are some of my fave quotes from the director:

HBO to Premiere Jay Z "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" and Releases Preview Clip

That Jay Z video shoot pulls further into focus with a preview of "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" that hints the word "art" equally applies to its surrounding words — it's "performance art" and an "art film." 

We'll get to see the whole thing via a big broadcast premiere, but it's not (m)TV, it's HBO — "Picasso Baby" launches exclusively on HBO next Friday, August 2 @ 11pm, immediately after Jay Z's appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.