Song of the Day #3,482: ‘Moonlight’ – Jay-Z

Jay-Z’s ‘Moonlight’ is one of the most provocative and entertaining videos of 2017, and it barely even features the song.

The short film imagines an all-black reimagining of Friends starring some of the hottest talents working today: Jerrod Carmichael (of the regrettably cancelled Carmichael Show, Lil Rey (so great in Get Out), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta‘s scene-stealer, also in Get Out, Issa Rae (Insecure), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, my personal fantasies), and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, living legend).

Hannibal Buress shows up as well to do some scene-stealing of his own.

The actors recreate a classic Friends bottle episode (‘The One Where No One’s Ready’), right down to the set, costumes and line-readings. Then Carmichael (playing Ross) begins to doubt the whole thing and steps aside for a moment of contemplation.

The song (which we barely hear) is about the sad state of the rap game, but it kicks off with a reference to La La Land stealing the spotlight from Oscar-winning Best Picture Moonlight due to the flub by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

The video explores cultural appropriation, apparently referencing the fact that Friends debuted a year after the very similar Living Single, which had an all-black cast and never got the kind of promotion from its network that the all-white show received.

Yeah, got a lil’ cold
So bear with me
Yeah, yeah

We stuck in La La Land
Even when we win, we gon’ lose
Y’all got the same fuckin’ flows
I don’t know who is who
We got the same fuckin’ watch
She don’t got time to choose
We stuck in La La Land
We got the same fuckin’ moves

Y’all fuck the same fuckin’ chicks
I’m in the skrt with ya— yeah, right
I’m in the skrt with ya— cool story
I’m on the j— ‘nough of this!

[Verse 1: JAY-Z]
Look, I know killers, you no killer, huh?
Bathing Ape maybe not a gorilla, huh?
Glorified seat filler, huh?
Stop walkin’ around like y’all made Thriller, huh?
Fake Dracos all in the videos
We show ’em, we shoot ’em in my city though
I don’t post no threats on the Internet
I just pose a threat, blame Lenny S for that
I don’t be on the ‘Gram goin’ ham
Givin’ information to the pork, that’s all spam

Please don’t talk about guns that you ain’t never gon’ use
Y’all always tell on y’all self, I’m just so fuckin’ confused

Y’all stuck in La La Land
Even when we win, we gon’ lose
Y’all got the same fuckin’ flows
I don’t know who is who
We got the same fuckin’ watch
She don’t got time to choose
We stuck in La La Land
We got the same fuckin’ moves

[Verse 2]
Y’all niggas still signin’ deals? Still?
After all they done stole, for real?
After what they done to our Lauryn Hill?
And y’all niggas is ‘posed to be trill?
That’s real talk when you behind on your taxes
And you pawned all your chains & they run off with your masters
And took it to Beverly Hills while we in Calabasas
And my head is scratchin’ ’cause that shit is backwards
That shit ain’t right, Lucian is cool
But Lucian don’t write, Doug ain’t this tight
So fuck what we sellin’, fuck is we makin’?
‘Cause their grass is greener ’cause they always rakin’ in mo’
Nah, nah

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,482: ‘Moonlight’ – Jay-Z

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Really clever and thought provoking. I guess the video is so long, that they couldn’t play the entire song, but that’s too bad because the rest of the lyrics seem provocative as well.

  2. Peg says:

    Very clever indead!

  3. Amy says:

    When I started watching the video just now, I was intrigued to see Alan Yang’s name as one of the creators. Since we’re such huge fans of Master of None, I immediately wanted to know how he came to be involved in this video, and it was actually the favorite idea he pitched to Jay-Z. Apparently this is the first music video Alan Yang has directed, though he has lots of experience directing actual sitcoms (he met Aziz when he directed Parks & Rec). Love the idea and the execution of the video. if you’re curious to learn more about how it came to be (as I was), this is a good article –!

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