4:44 Highlights

220px-444_album_coverBorn in the Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn, a drug dealer in the height of the crack epidemic, Jay-Z is one of the most talented people not just in rap, but in music, in business. Jay’s story could’ve gone so many ways, but where did it end up?

At the Songwriters Hall of Fame, with the likes Elvis Costello and Billy Joel.

Last week, Hov blessed us with 4:44. 

Expectations for this album were high. After all the legend is 47 and last year his wife decided to serve Lemonade and tea.

I like to think that Jay exceeded what people were expecting.

What I love about 4:44 is how autobiographical it is

He addresses his marriage to the “baddest girl in the world.”

You almost went Eric Benét
Let the baddest girl in the world get away
I don’t even know what else to say

Kill Jay Z 

* Eric Bennet, a singer who was popping in the 90s,  decided to cheat on Halle Berry. Sad.*

Don’t worry, Yoncé makes an appearance on “Family Feud”. That track is what one would expect from a Shawn Carter album. It’s on “Family Feud” that he talks about Blackness, money, and Black people with money.

From critiques from the elders of the movement who have been critical of him to his good friend Puff Daddy.

Al Sharpton in the mirror takin’ selfies
How is him or Pill Cosby s’posed to help me?
Old niggas never accepted me
New niggas is the reason I stopped drinkin’ Dos Equis
We all lose when the family feuds
What’s better than one billionaire? Two
I’ll be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got CÎROC
Y’all need to stop

Family Feud

Al likes mirror selfies, Bill Cosby is trash, and a lot of old Blacks don’t like Jay. Puff Daddy+his aliases hold a share of Ciroc Vodka. 

No ID’s sample of Fu-Gee-La on “Moonlight,” a song that references Moonlight beating La La Land at the Oscars is the best sample of that song. No ID really did this production. The samples from artist like Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder make the entire album heavenly.

My favorite part of the album is on “Smile.” There, Jay discusses his mom’s sexuality and Ms.Gloria’s makes an appearance at the end.

Living in the shadow
Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?
In the shadows people see you as happy and free
Because that’s what you want them to see
Living two lives, happy, but not free
You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love
The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free
But you live with the fear of just being me
Living in the shadow feels like the safe place to be
No harm for them, no harm for me
But life is short, and it’s time to be free
Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed
Smile
Gloria Carter on “Smile”

The visuals are also amazing. “The Story of O.J.” video can’t even be explained. It alludes to The Story of Little Black Sambo and features imagery of Black people throughout American history. And there’s more on the way.

4:44 is what the world really needed. We needed the former “pimp in every meaning of the word” to talk about fidelity. We needed to hear him discuss the importance of Black affluence. We needed him to have the words “love who you love” on his album. It not only shows growth but it is refreshing. A Rap album that’s not about bodily fluids, misogyny, and doesn’t require me to use a Genius lyric sheet to understand what’s being said? Lit.

Now, many might say that someone Jay’s age should be making age appropriate music. True. What’s remarkable is that Jay did it with the hall of fame perfection that is expected of him

So go finesse that Tidal subscription and check 4:44 and the visuals that accompany it. But you also may want to get the physical copy for some bonus tracks ??

 

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