Jul 7, 2017

4:44 Review - by @jephtoda

In four years so much can change. Presidential terms end, entertainers come and go, fashion changes, TV shows get canceled. However with all that being said one thing seems to stay the same. Everyone and everything will stop and listen when Jay-Z drops an album. 

4:44 is Hov’s 13th solo studio album and at the age of 47 we were all waiting to hear what he would sound like and if it would connect. At this day and age less and less rappers are actually rapping and many wondered if Jay would follow suit Even more importantly, how it would translate? I'm happy to report that Hov is still Hov and everything he raps is still gold. 

4:44 starts with the self deprecating and shot filled song Kill Jay Z. Although throughout majority of the three minute track he speaks on his own flaws, what sticks out the most is the “shot” that he takes at Kanye. Longtime friends, Jay finally opens up about the frustrations he has with Mr. West and digs into the root of some of their issues. It's safe to say hopes for a Watch the Throne II are dwindling. 


art by Jeff Rose King
"you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
He gave you 20 minutes on stage,
But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane"(Kill Jay-Z)

Kanye isn't the only rapper he jabs at on track one. The triple entendre king plays on words also mentioning Future and his dealings with Ciarra, Russell Wilson and their son. Bye Jay-Z he ends. It's almost as if Jay-Z has been an alter-ego this entire time and Sean Carter emerges for the first time in forever. From there he quickly switches gears and kicks some much needed game in The Story of OJ. Hearing an artist dive into how to work your money instead of spend it is refreshing. Hearing it come from a guy who was once notoriously known for balling and being super extravagant is a new feat. The Story of OJ is a message on how to keep it for generations and make your money stretch. The video takes a minstrel show approach, oh the irony.



Jay has a history of a braggadocio flow and talks about expensive wine, classic art, and the finer things in life. Sean Carter is that uncle at the cookout dropping knowledge. For $9.99 he put us all on game about themes of gentrification and generational wealth (okay we know you got that free trial just for this album, we did too). This father like approach of trying to teach us through his mistakes is riddled throughout this whole album.
In some of the songs Hov abandoned prose and rhyme to just tell the truth. Not that he hadn't been honest before but I've never heard The Jigga Man be so vulnerable since maybe Song CryWhether it be infidelity on the title track 4:44 , unity on Family Feud, or independence with Moonlight, the album hits home on so many values and topics that are generally not touched. Without a doubt one of the most personal and helpful Jay albums, 4:44 feels more like a letter that he’s leaving us or even more a will (ironically enough Blue asks “Daddy what’s a will?” on the final track Legacy). After all these years of stunting on everyone it seems like “the greatest rapper ever” wants to part wisdom on us all and help us grow, a fourth blueprint if you will. Well as a fan and admirer I’d like to say thank you Mr. Carter thank you, you’re far too kind.

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