It is no secret that Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been caught in a somewhat self- fueled media storm. The release of "Lemonade" sparked the first flame,after which Solange's infamous assault on Jay-Z in an elevator, at the Met Ball, set the fire blazing.
The long-awaited release of Jay-Z's new album 4:44, after a 4 year hiatus from the rap scene, has not left fans disappointed. Addressing all rumors, allegations and indiscretions, Jay-Z is back and he's vulnerable, like we've never seen him before.
Both political and scandalous, the album begins with the track "Kill Jay-Z" which chronicles the story of the old persona and the birth of the new Jay. The track marks the fall and rise of him as an artiste and as a family man with the lyric "But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue", referencing to his daughter Blue Ivy.
A political track, "The story of O.J." sheds light on the racial issues the black community still faces today and the struggle for equality. Jay-Z references the O.J. Simpson case, a controversial murder trial in The United States of America, which left the country divided in 1995, that became less of a murder trial and more of a racial one. Simpson famously said "I'm not black, I'm O.J.", the main theme of Jay-Z's rap.
4:44, the title track is an admission of guilt, infidelity, self-castigation and a concluding apology. Finally addressing his marital strife, as documented by Beyoncé on her album Lemonade, Jay-Z fans get an insight to his side of the story. It narrates his adultery and conflicts with love and in its most heartfelt admission states "I apologize/Often womanized/Took for my child to be born to see through a woman's eyes."
Kanye West is another target of Jay-Z's rap and addresses the feud with the rapper with the lyric "But you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye / You gave him 20 million without blinkin' / He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f--k was he thinkin'?
The album is a collaboration which features many artistes ranging from Frank Ocean, Damian Marley, The-Dream, Beyoncé, Jay-Z's own mother Gloria Carter and even his daughter Blue Ivy who asks" Daddy, whats a will?" on the track "Legacy". However, all songs can only be heard on Jay Z's own streaming service Tidal, perhaps a let down for some fans.
“Becky with the good hair” innuendo finally put to rest and a raw, yet hopeful album at its core, Jay lays himself bare from A to Z.