We have patiently waited 4 years for the next Jay Z album to hit the music waves and I think Jay’s 13th studio album 4:44 was defiantly worth the wait.
In today’s world where hip hop culture is in a desperate need of realness Jay Z delivered a prolific and honest piece of work that shows us all why he is a living legend in Hip Hop culture.
From speaking on topics related to race, wealth building, raising his children, and of course his apology to his wife Beyonce on the track titled 4:44.
This album takes the listener to another level of who Jay Z is, a former drug dealer, turned rapper, turned mogul, to a family man who has taken all he has learned from his life and used it to influence a generation of people into creating something better with their lives.
Here are some of my favorite tracks on the album.
Kill Jay Z.
The first track off the album “Kill Jay Z” set the tone for the listener “It’s really about the ego,” Jay said in an iHeart Radio interview that accompanied the premiere of the album. “It’s about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty.” On this track Jay has a talk with himself recalling incidents from the last 4 years surround Kanye West and the fight with his sister-in-law Solange Knowles. He addressed Kanye West with the line “You dropped outta school, you lost your principles,” “You gave him 20 million without thinkin’,” “He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’?” Referring to Solange he raps “You egged Solange on, knowing all along, all you had to say was you was wrong”. Jay also thinks back to when he almost lost Beyonce with the line “You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away” and we cannot dismiss the obvious shade at Future “other niggas playin’ football with your son”.
The Story of OJ
Another great track that also featured an artistic cartoon video that can be viewed on Tidal.com is The Story of OJ. This track featured snippets of Nina Simone’s voice from “Four Women”.
It’s in this track Jay speaks on racism in America and how it doesn’t matter how successful a black man can be he will always be treated as a “nigga”, ” Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga,” “still nigga.” And what better way to give an example of what he means by using OJ Simpson famous line “I’m not black I’m OJ”.
On the track Smile he sets the tone for family with a poem recited by his mother. She says, “Living in the shadow/Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?” Jay Z reminisces about his mother in this song and how he had to deal with her sexual orientation. “Mama had four kids, she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long she’s a thespian,” he reveals. “Cried tears of joy when she fell in love/Doesn’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
The track titled 4:44 was an apology to Jay Z’s wife Beyonce. Many believe this track is a response to Beyonce’s 2016 album Lemonade where she addresses her husband’s infidelity. The first lines to the verse says “I apologize/Often womanized/Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes.” Jay Z shares with iHeartRadio, the origins of 4:44’s title, “I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 a.m., to write this song,” he recalled. “So it became the title of the album and everything. It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”
Family feud on of my favorite tracks on the album addresses the division in hip hop culture and the Black community. Jay shared “Family Feud is about separation within the culture like, new rappers fighting with old rappers, saying all these things,” he said. That answer is echoed in first verse lines like, “All this old talk left me confused/You rather be ‘old rich me’ or ‘new you’/And old niggas, y’all stop acting brand new/Like 2Pac ain’t have a nose ring, too.” He also took shots at Al Sharpton’s new selfies and even asks the question how can “Bill Cosby help me?”
The final track on the album gave me chills Legacy. In this track you hear Blue Ivy ask her father “daddy what’s a will?”
Jay speaks directly to Blue, laying out his plan for passing wealth on to future generations of Carters: “My stake in RocNation should go to you/Leave a piece for your siblings to give to their children too.” In this song it is clear that Jay Z’s hope is for financial freedom and prosperity not only for his family, but Black America as a whole. He urged his children to fund ideas from people who look like them. This track was an amazing way to end an amazing album 4:44
Much like his last album, which came out first exclusively on Samsung phones, Hov’s new LP is available exclusively to Sprint users (as well people who have Tidal.com) . The album also included Frank Ocean, Damian Marley and Jay’s mother Gloria Carter all featured on the album along with Beyoncé vocals on “Family Feud” and The-Dream vocals on “Marcy Me.”
JAY-Z’s 4:44 Tracklist
- “Kill Jay Z”
- “The Story of O.J.”
- “Smile” Feat. Gloria Carter
- “Caught Their Eyes” Feat. Frank Ocean
- “Family Feud”
- “Bam” Feat. Damian Marley
- “Marcy Me”
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