What do 4:44 and Master of None have in common? At first, maybe nothing other than them both being major entertainment milestones released in 2017. But when you dig a little deeper, you'd find that there is actually a significant thread connecting the two: Alan Yang. The Master of None screenwriter was recruited to join Jay's eclectic group of producers, writers, and creatives to work on his at-the-time top secret album, 4:44. Through a series of fateful events, Yang ended up writing the script for the recently released music video for "Moonlight," off of the studio album. And in an interview with Vulture, Yang revealed the tale of all tales when recounting his time in Los Angeles working on the project.
He said that the night before he was supposed to shoot the "Moonlight" video (which is a remake of an iconic Friends episode, "The One Where No One's Ready" featuring all Black actors), he was going on edits with Jay and afterwards started heading home to work and rest. But then he received a phone call from the rapper's manager, Chaka Pilgrim, inviting him join a very exclusive crew in hearing the entire album for the first time. And y'all, this is the wildest crew of all-time.
In Yang's words: "I was ready to go back to my hotel and rewrite the whole thing, and as I was walking out of the studio, Chaka pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to hear the album. So I go down the hall and I’m in this big recording space and there’s like 15 people in there: Jay, Lana Del Rey, Chris Paul, Jessie Williams, Gerard Butler. It was a really diverse crew, I’m not sure what’s happening."
Pause. Let's revisit this.
Lana Del Rey and Gerard Butler were both sitting next to each other giving feedback to Jay Z on his musical response to Beyoncé's Lemonade. Imagine not only sitting in that room, with Butler on one side of you , and Del Rey on the other, but imagine hearing the lyrics "You did what with who? What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate, you risked that for Blue?" knowing that Jay Z is right next to you.
You may be wondering if Butler are Jay are friends and we just didn't know it. And the answer is...I guess? This Page Six article from 2015 alleges that Butler was "starstruck" when he saw Beyoncé and Jay Z at a New York hot spot. Maybe that was the beginning on a beautiful friendship, all leading us to this exact moment. It's possible that Jay knows Del Rey through her work alongside A$AP Rocky, or maybe he's just a fan of her melancholy vibe. Williams was part of Jay's project in "Footnotes," opening up about his own divorce, so his presence makes sense. Paul is a sports person, I have no clue why he was there. And Yang? Well Yang won the celebrity lottery with this crew. What a night.
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