December 16, 2016
'Holy Grail' Is One Of Jay Z's 'Most Personal Songs,' Video Director Says

Jay Z debuted the video forHoly Grail on Facebook Thursday, and director Anthony Mandler said the song was one of the rapper's most personal.

Leading up the album's release, the 43-year-old tweeted a number of "new rules," and Mandler said the video reflects Jay's desire to reinvent not only a big-budget music video, but the music itself, according to MTV News. Instead of opening with Justin Timberlake's A cappella intro, the video opens with a Jay rapping a verse with some bizarre images in the background before slowing down and then stopping entirely before the screen goes black.

"Jay's committed to turning the rules upside down. He's willing to push the boundaries, flip the concepts, and allowed me the ability to be really disrespectful to the track, to re-cut it and change the order," Mandler said. "When we started the video, the idea wasn't to re-arrange the track; that came along the process of discovery, during the edit, when we had this idea of 'How do we turn the medium again?'"

Mandler explained that the video is a "revision of the song" and that, while he loved Timberlake's intro, he wanted to fool people a little bit and give them something more abstract.

"It was a way to f**k with people's heads, in a time when people don't do that anymore," he said.

The video explores the limitations of fame using people like Howard Hughes and Mike Tyson, whose lives Mandler said Jay had a connection to.

"Tyson was a hero to many, he was almost invincible, and then, he gets knocked down by a guy like Buster Douglas," Mandler said. "Jay definitely felt the connection there."

Mandler didn't elaborate on the connection, but did say that Jay Z now feels like he still has certain limitations despite his status.

"I think it's one of his most personal songs," Mandler said. "It admits a certain prisoner mentality, that even at this point in his life; you just find another set of walls, with a better view. And he was willing to go there with me on that idea, and this project. To push the medium forward."