So, Jay-Z just released his 13th album, 4:44. Only 10 songs, short and to the point. Considering my attention span that is probably a good idea. I decided to do an album review because well I am a fan and no I am not qualified to review music but the way the internet is set up, lol.
Track 1 – Kill Jay-Z – This track almost feels like a “death” of Jay – Z, and birth of Shawn Carter almost. He kind of explains his past, apologizes and talks about who he is now, almost like a trip down memory lane. He also throws shade on this album.
First, he hit Kanye – “But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe/ But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye/ You gave him 20 million without thinkin’/ He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’?/ “Fuck wrong with everybody?” is what you sayin’/ But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane”
Then Eric Benet – “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
Then he went at Future – I don’t even know what you woulda done/ In the future, other niggas playin’ football with your son
Decent introduction and its rap so that is what people do, throw shots. Hopefully, Kanye responds. As far as Future goes it happens, hell I hope my son’s Mom finds a Russell Wilson too. I will admit, he didn’t have to go at my boy Eric Benet, however. That man made my anthem “Love Don’t Love Me” and I refuse to just let anyone come at him sideways lol. Besides Mr. Benet is happily married and Dave Justice, Wesley Snipes, Christopher Williams, and many other men besides Eric let Halle’s crazy ass go lol.
Track 2 – The Story Of O.J. – I love the concept because yes no matter what we have or accomplish as a black person or how we look we will still be viewed as well… niggas lol. I also like the fact that he mentioned some of his frivolous spending and mistakes he made as a younger person. He basically attempts to preach financial independence and making better decisions. Good message.
Track 3 – Smile – This is a positive song. I like it. I was definitely intrigued by him mentioning that his Mom was a lesbian. Just wonder why it took 4 kids to figure it out. Either way, this song has a good message and he did send a shout out to the LGBTQ community. Maybe this was a subtle attempt at showing that he wasn’t homophobic as well. I mean considering what slurs rappers used just a decade it is definitely an example of growth.
Track 4 – Caught Their Eyes – This song speaks on… tbh I don’t really like this song lol. The hook was catchy though and it did sort of speak on liars and shadiness. He also speaks on Prince which was dope and the importance of owning your masters.
Track 5 – 4:44 – The response to Lemonade lol. It’s a publicity cough* stunt but whatever. Love the beat, Ghost and Rae would kill this IMO. As far as the song goes Jay-Z apologizes to his wife and to all women. He admits his infidelity, the games he played with women, everything. “I apologize to all the woman whom I
“I apologize to all the woman whom I
Toyed with your emotions because I was emotionless
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
Thinking of all the time you wasted in on all this basic shit
So I apologize…
Lol, judging by the reactions on social media women love this song and I suppose this is who he targeted when he made the song. I am glad that Jay – Z finally figured out how to treat his woman…at the age of 47 and with the fear that he may not be around his kids as much. Wonder if he would feel this way without the kids?
Track 6 – Family Feud – I like this song, especially this part
“And old niggas, y’all stop actin’ brand new
Like, 2Pac ain’t have a nose ring too”
Which basically means shut up, they are no different than we were. All jokes aside he kind of went in on everyone, even Al Sharpton and then attempted to throw in a message lol.
Track 7 – Bam – My favorite song on the album. This gave me an old Jay-Z or HOV vibe. Talk your shit Jay “Sometimes you need your ego, gotta remind these fools
Who they effin’ with”
Track 8 – Moonlight – This song was meh, more teaching or preaching from Jay.
Track 9 – Marcy Me – Just a trip down memory lane from Jay -Z about his Marcy Project days. Good song.
Track 10 – Legacy – If you are going to use Donny Hathaway you are good in my book and he did. Nice song, positive message and he preaches the importance of your legacy and speaks on generational wealth… “Someday, we’ll all be free…”
This album gave me mixed emotions. I love Jay-Z as a rapper but I can’t help but wonder what percentage of this is marketing and what percentage of this is actually authentic. I am convinced that Beyonce and Jay have the greatest marketing team ever. Their ability to not only profit off of what happened in that elevator on camera with Solange but also provide damage control is amazing. So all of the songs, apologies, etc. I always look at with a side eye. I also question this new Jay – Z is he finally “woke” or trying to get people to subscribe to Tidal. Hopefully, he is somewhere in the middle.
You know what this album reminds me of? You ever had that older middle-aged coworker, a guy in the neighborhood, Uncle or maybe he was just a guy you always saw in the barber shop. He was in his late 40’s, he was upper middle class, maybe had a good job or owned a business, nice cars, and a beautiful family. Cool guy but sometimes he can get too chatty. Some days he is bragging about all that he has accomplished in his career, things that he has acquired and family life. Then some days he is bragging about what he used to do “back in the day” maybe he sold drugs, had a lot of women, partied it up or whatever. Then you have those days where he feels like giving you unsolicited advice. I am sure it is coming from a good place but damn. He tells you what you should do as a black man, what you shouldn’t do that he did growing up, he suddenly began preaching about unity, owning our own business our future etc. All great messages, but only if you are feeling receptive that day.
See that’s the thing about unsolicited advice, most people don’t like it. More often than not people get defensive and annoyed, like “who asked you” lol. It can come off as being judgmental, preachy, shade or a personal attack. Personally, I respect my elders and treat their gems or words of wisdom as just an OG passing down knowledge. I tend to listen respectfully and apply some of it to my daily life. At the same time, we all know that experience is an even greater teacher. Plus sometimes it is fun to mess up. Go out, party, have fun, make bad decisions, flash money and hopefully learn from them and mature. Sometimes we need that experience as well. Also it’s easy to talk and judge when you already made it. Especially when you said yourself that you made it due to certain illegal activity and had a few breaks along the way. With all of that being said I like the album and the message from Jay – Z. Good but not great album and that is judging from the Jay – Z standard of course. Still better than a lot of other new artists and I’ll purchase it now that it is not exclusive to Tidal.
Also technically the advice is not unsolicited since you purchased the album but you get my drift.