4:44 Jay Z Album Review
Hov`s 13th studio album arrives barring 13 tracks (10 with out a Bonus treat) from a 4:44 am, 4:44-minutes long inspired song and available on every possible platform. Homonymous “4:44” album started as a free download ticket on Tidal and now available everywhere, shakes the Hip Hop scene with Jay`s unraveled burned Diary pages that show cast his not so blissful past, but paves the legacy path he`s leaving for his daughter and the coming inheritors.
I already heard it and for those of you that haven`t got the chance to tap it in, well it`s fire in a typical Jay-Z way. Which is not bad at all, and with “4:44” being one of the best songs he has ever written… Well, you can really label this again as the greatest confessionable piece of now-day original Hip Hop Era. Here is the rest of the story.
Tracking Of 4:44
01. Kill JAY-Z
02. The Story of O.J.
04. Caught Their Eyes (feat. Frank Ocean)
06. Family Feud (feat. Beyoncé)
07. Bam (feat. Damien Marley)
09. Marcy Me
12. Blue’s Freestyle / We Family
13. ManyFacedGod (feat. James Blake)
First Minutes Of Jay`s Disclosure
With the first ticking clock fractions, we enter straight into the crime scene to witness Jay`s murder. “Kill Jay Z” acts like a self-critical notation in which the main author viciously tries to kill his own ego. In the No.I.D. production credits Jay tries to dust that shoulders of past with one strong verse. Here`s the glimpse of it:
“You egged Solange on
Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong
You almost went Eric Benét
Let the baddest girl in the world get away
I don’t even know what else to say
Nigga, never go Eric Benét!
I don’t even know what you woulda done
In the Future, other niggas playin’ football with your son
You woulda lost it
Thirteen bottles of Ace of Spade, what it did to Boston
Nah, Jay Z
Bye, Jay Z”.
The old-school original rap vibe continues on while Jay touches on some racial topics in “The Story Of OJ” with Nina Simone “Four Women” single samples. Again with shark-sharp lyrics cutting corners like:
“Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for 1 million
2 years later, that shit worth 2 million
Few years later, that shit worth 8 million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children
Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine
But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99”.
Mesmerizing Momma Collabo
Third from the top is tender “Smile” that Jay features his mom Gloria Carter in the outro. This deep mom dedication tells such a profound story on Jay-Z`s “4:44” diary and just shows how much reality hides underneath just one family. Some of the life hurdles Jay describes in the following lines:
“Tryna put a million on the whole team now
Push through the pain so we can see new life
So all the ladies havin’ babies, see a sacrifice
Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian
Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian
Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate
Society shame and the pain was too much to take
Cried tears of joy when you fell in love
Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her
I just wanna see you smile through all the hate
Marie Antoinette, baby, let ’em eat cake”.
A Few Seconds Later
Frank Ocean joins the next joint, “Cought Their Eyes” with another No. I.D. sampled beat. And yet another Nina Simone sample treat. Jay talks about meeting Price before he died and getting an approval for distributing his music via Tidal just so he can get sued for the same thing. And again Jay kills the verse distribution with bars like these:
“Y’all body language is all remedial
How could you see the difference between you and I?
My crash course was much tougher
‘Round friends who kill they friends
Then hug their friends’ mothers
And show up at the funeral, complete with blank stares
Invisible ink, I had to read things that wasn’t there
Memories may sneak down my cheek
But I could see a side-eye in my sleep”.
One of the best songs that he could have written in his entire career and probably that he is never going to write again is album`s theme track “4:44”. In Hanna Williams intro and chorus Jay-Z delivers his deepest soul atoms on the paper. The “apologize” song contains all Jay`s confessions to Bey that started one morning at exactly 4:44 which is also the length of the song. His unfair treat of his wife highlights first on the first verse:
“I seen the innocence leave your eyes
I still mourn this death and
I apologize for all the stillborns
‘Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it
I apologize to all the women whom I
Toyed with your emotions because I was emotionless
And I apologize ’cause at your best you are love
And because I fall short of what I say I’m all about
Your eyes leave with the soul that your body once housed
And you stare blankly into space
Thinkin’ of all the time, you wasted it on all this basic shit
So I apologize”.
And then reaches its true peak in the second and third final verse sealing the true feelings like this:
“And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do
If they ain’t look at me the same
I would prob’ly die with all the shame
“You did what with who?”
What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?
“You risked that for Blue?”
If I wasn’t a superhero in your face
My heart breaks for the day I have to explain my mistakes
And the mask goes away, and Santa Claus is fake
And you go online and see
For Blue’s tooth, the tooth fairy didn’t pay”.
But A Little Ego Is Just Fine
After the self-criticizing and emotion-twist balls, Jay admits that still a bit of an ego is totally ok. So he starts out by pocking on the misunderstanding between old and new school of Hip Hop in “Family Feud” featuring his wife Beyonce and then in “Bam Bam” with Damian Marley he focuses on keeping that ego up more.
Inspired by the 2016 Oscar-winning movie “Moonlight”, Jay tries to put a blame on a current culture and its direction. In the same way that “Moonlight” fought its strange battle of winning an Oscar, the same way Jay points his fingers to a foggy ways of Hip Hop culture. Especially the Rap one. As pale and stereotyped one.
A nostalgic Jay-Z march through the streets of past times and reminiscing on his beginnings in “Marcy Me” reflects the usual urges of one human`s soul. The dreams and their building blocks. The-Dream outros the track neatly.
In the “Legacy” everything is exactly what the title says. Jay-Z lets the jazzy upbeat talk smoothly in the background while he shares his Carter legacy. One of the most goosebumpy line lies right here:
“You see, my father, son of a preacher man
Whose daughter couldn’t escape the reach of the preacher’s hand
That charge of energy set all the Carters back
It took all these years to get to zero in fact
I hated religion ’cause here was this Christian
He was preachin’ on Sundays, versus how he was livin’ Monday
Someday I forgive him
‘Cause strangely our division led to multiple religions”.
An Open Letter To Dad
The passing of his dad in 2003 led to this song. “Adnis” as his father`s first name is the song title that Jay wrote as an open letter. Produced by James Blake this sentimental jam again shows Jay-Z`s struggle, dad-relatonship and all the things he went through wrapped up ardently in one exquisite sonic package.
After Blue`s Freestyle and “We Family” out-of-bond lyrical strikes where Jay displays the importance of family besides a natural musical talent from daughter Blue, Jay closes the “4:44” project with light rhythm music. Another feature by James Blake who also co-produces the track with Dominic Marker ““MaNyfaCedGod”” talks about his relationship with Bey and the power of it. This is actually a Deluxe Version Bonus track Jay-Z made to give one final shout at the strength of the love.
Free Of Charge Rap Legacy
No matter what he does even the sole mention of a name Jay-Z raises doubt automatically in whether he`s good cop or bad one. But given that he is one of the greatest rappers alive and only human, taken aside the alleged rumors of being almost an “alien” with his secret mass-hypnotizing signs, you can never really truly take Jay down.
Ever since his early beginnings his undieing workflow, passionate energy and love for his culture has given him all that he ever wanted and twice as more. With his latest art piece “4:44” he only gave a brave notch to a fastly ticking biological clock and charged it in with his open-hearted self-sacrificial unselfishness. Give him a 10/10 break and let go.
Here`s the purchase link or you can test the waters on Spotify player below, your choice: