I owe Jay Z an apology. Since Watch The Throne, I’ve said “Jay doesn’t need to rap anymore.” “He’s too rich, now.” “Jay Z’ is above this world of hip-hop to connect with his core audience.” The 4:44 album is proof that I was dead wrong. It also proves Jay Z can do anything and he should never be questioned or doubted ever in the world of hip-hop. 4:44 is Jay Z’s “Back To The Future II album”. It’s like the album is recorded in an alternate time warp between 1999-2001. Much like Marty when he had to go to the “other 1985” to make things right for the future of his existence in others. Big Homey Jay has returned and the game is being redirected.
Tracks like “Kill Jay Z”, “4:44” and “Smile”, give the most revealing Jay ever. He really gives us real clips on his personal life. His struggles of being a married man, a father and a softer individual with feelings that deals with emotions. Something we rarely got over the last 2 decades. He touches on every possible instance that ever made the media and the watching and talking streets. Kanye, Solange, Beyonce, Un and much more. It’s refreshing and makes your mind wander and reflect on the life you’ve had a privilege to watch all this time.
Then you have joints like “Family Feud”, “Bam” and “The Story of O.J”. These joints put in perspective who really getting this money and moving right out here. Nobody can ever out rap Jay Z when it’s time for show and tell. From the tone to the bar itself. If Jay Z says he’s got it. You believe it. Blue and the twins have an 8 million dollar painting to cash in right now. Everybody holding money to their ear still making collect calls to Hov and he’s not taking collect calls.
“Moonlight” “Caught Their Eye” attacks the industry and everything messed up in it. From the flows to the record deals, Prince and more. It’s just that standard “Big Homey Talk” that Hov has been giving out for years.
Is 4:44 the best Jay Z album? You can honestly argue it. This album is 180 growth from Reasonable Doubt. This is The Dynasty content with more detail. This is everything we thought Magna Carta Holy Grail would be. Not to mention Jay Z is still rapping at a high level. “Shinning” and other moments over the last 4 years are easily forgettable after the first 4 tracks on this album. It will honestly be many Jay fans and rightfully so. Chances are if you’re a day 1 Jay z fan in real time. [Meaning you bought Reasonable Doubt by at least 1998] You’re between 32-38 or older. Which means you and Jay will have an adult conversation about the life he’s lived. A life like none other. Take a seat and chill with ya mans and catch up with him. What you doing at 4:44 anyway?
The Story of O.J.