Jay Z’s 4:44 Is Him Coming Clean
It’s filled to the brim with his confessions—to everything
When Beyoncé dropped Lemonade last year, there was one particular issue mixed in with the mountains of praise. “Becky with the good hair” became a personification that embodied the question surrounding Jay Z’s womanizing. But through the apparent drama, the Carter family stayed together—and now the 47-year-old rapper is coming clean.
In 4:44, Jay Z’s first album in four years, he seems to admit to a few personal wrongdoings, as well as air out a few family skeletons. Yes, he cheated on Beyoncé (4:44), he tried therapy (Smile), he stabbed executive Lance Rivera in 1999 (Kill Jay Z), his paternal family was plagued with abuse (Legacy) and his mother is gay and was in the closet for decades (Smile).
I’ve seen the innocence leave your eyes/I still mourn this death.
If you believe everything you hear, it’s a lot to take in. But the one that is getting the most attention is 4:44, the title track that seems to be a companion piece to “Lemonade.”
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?"
Jay Z was always candid, but he was never this open. Critics have dismissed the idea that this is his way rectifying his marriage and owning up to his mistakes. Instead, it’s exhaling a breath that he’s held in for far too long.
Simple, honest and intimate.
The entire album was produced by No ID, Kanye West’s former mentor. The exclusivity is almost unheard of in hip-hop, but it offers the tracks a uniformed direction that tells a single story. No ID laid out a slower palette for Jay Z to rap over, as most of the tracks chime in with 80-90 beats per minute, made sower by the producer’s preference for slurred and dragging sounds.
The intimacy does not stop there. Jay Z only has three guests in 4:44: Frank Ocean in Caught Their Eyes, Damian Marley in Bam and Gloria Carter and his mother on Smile.
Currently, 4:44 is only available for Sprint and Tidal subscribers. But you can listen to the rest of Jay Z’s tracks on Spotify with Globe.