Photo Credit: Courtesy of HBO
Jay Z is one charismatic man. How many people could perform the same song over and over in a bare white room for six hours, and keep the audience spellbound? That's exactly how Jay made his new video -- or, as he's calling it, "performance art film" -- for his single "Picasso Baby." It premiered Friday night on HBO, and you can experience it below! (Warning: NSFW language.)
So here's how this very unique video was made. In early July, Jay and his RocNation team staged the top-secret concert at Pace Gallery in New York City. The invited audience was a combination of art world and hip-hop superstars, critics, Hollywood celebs, and local Jay Z superfans. As Jay performed, the audience members were ushered into the circle one by one, and he would sing a verse directly to them. They could dance, sing, talk back, or whatever they chose to do in that moment. (Critic Jerry Saltz, who appears towards the beginning of the video, described his experience here.)
We're really glad he decided to turn the performance into a video, which makes us feel like we were actually there. (We only wish.) The joy, energy and spontaneity really come through. Audience highlights include director Judd Apatow pretending to take a phone call while Jay raps angrily at him; performance artist Marina Abramovic (she's the one who arrives in the limo) challenging his personal space; a mother covering her daughter's ears when Jay rapped a naughty word; and up-and-coming singer Kiah Victoria throwing some vocals into the mix. Thankfully, Jay decided to include the names of featured audience members at the end of the video, but if you're trying to put a name to a face, here's a guide to some other notable cameos.
Adam Driver - Adam on Girls, featured in Lincoln
Alan Cumming - Eli Gold on The Good Wife, Nightcrawler in X-Men 2
Jemima Kirke - Jessa on Girls
Rosie Perez - Starred in Do the Right Thing, Riding in Cars with Boys, Won't Back Down
Taraji P Henson - Stars on Person of Interest; Oscar nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Michael K. Williams - Omar on The Wire, Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire
Fab 5 Freddy - Hip-hop artist, original host of Yo! MTV Raps
It's too bad that Beyonce didn't make an appearance, but she does make a cameo in the song: Jay Z brags about "sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa, the modern version with better features!"