JAY-Z is Sorry!

4:44 was released on June 30th 2017 and is Shawn Carter’s aka JAY-Z’s 13th album. It’s safe to say Jay has reinvented himself with every album he has made from The Blueprint in 2001 to Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013).

Not only is Jay a rapper, entrepreneur, label owner, and a businessman, but he is an African American married man, and father. And in this album the world gets to meet the vulnerable and apologetic side of him as he airs out his entire life to the public and puts some of it to rest.

Starting with the opening song Kill Jay Z, the grammatical context of the title, ties with the fact that Jay has decided to change his name from Jay Z to JAY-Z, putting it in all caps, and bringing the hyphen back. And from that one can assume that Jay is in fact erasing the “old Jay Z,” the very version of himself that inspired Beyonce’s Lemonade album.

In the title track 4:44 Jay apologizes no less than seven times in four minutes and forty-five seconds. Jay admits to the infidelity, to his disloyalty, to not being good enough, or mature to be the man he claimed he could be.

Not only is 4:44 the song Beyonce herself may have been waiting for but the song is what the world has been waiting for. This song says not every cheating incident has to end in an ugly divorce. This song says if JAY-Z can man up and apologize so can you guys (you know who you are). He admitted his faults and made art out of it. It becomes heartfelt for fans to see projects like these become more personal and less for publicity and radio play.

In an interview with IHeartRadio, Jay explained the making of 4:44, saying, “I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning…So it became the title of the album and everything. It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”

There is a powerful message in every song of this album. In the Story of O.J. we see Jay’s view on black culture and how we have to stick together in order to push forward.

Smile, Jay says, in an interview with iHeart Radio, “is just what it is. There are gonna be bad times, and those bad times can do two things: they can get you in a place where you’re stuck in a rut, or it can make your future that much better because you’ve experienced these things.” This song is also the first time Jay’s mom, Gloria Carter’s homosexuality is publicly revealed with the lyrics “Momma had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” he reveals. “Cried tears of joy when she fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”

On other songs like Bam, Moonlight, Marcy Me, and Legacy Jay reminisces about problems in the music industry, letting go of his ego, his old days as a hustler and the legacy for the Carter family name.

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Not only is the album a masterpiece on its own, but since it was released Jay has been dropping visuals that go along with the sound one music video at a time and fans are living for it.

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