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Maybe Those ‘4:44’ Ads Aren’t for a Jay Z Album …

Variety logo Variety 6/8/2017 Jem Aswad
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Earlier this week, online ads and billboards and posters appeared in New York and Los Angeles that simply said “4:44.” Because of the word “Tidal” appearing in the online coding, the internet went aflutter over whether it was a tease for Jay Z’s long-in-the-works next album. Jay is the lead investor in the streaming service.

However, a minute-long trailer appeared early Thursday that, at the very least, says the ads are for something else possibly unrelated to a new Jay Z album: something that features Oscar winners Mahershala Ali and Lupita Nygon’go and Danny Glover that will appear as part of Tidal’s new partnership with Sprint. The moody, black-and-white clip shows Ali practicing boxing in a gym with a trainer as a mellow hip-hip inflected rhythm track plays. Dark and shadowy, the clip resembles a film about 1950s jazz more than one about boxing. Wording at the end of the clip lists the actors and sends viewers to the URL, which at the moment has just a “stay tuned” message.

The video initially aired during the NBA Finals game on Wednesday. On Thursday, Sprint president/CEO tweeted the video and wrote: “Excited to bring @Sprint customers exclusive content through our partnership with @TIDALHiFi – more news coming tomorrow.”

In January, Sprint acquired a 33% stake in Tidal, and with the investment the wireless carrier said it will offer exclusive Tidal content available only to Sprint customers.

Not surprisingly, the clip has generated even more confusion on social media — hey, it still could be for a Jay Z album? More, if not all, will apparently be revealed Friday.

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