Jay-Z – 4:44 (2017) 8.5

Genre: Hip Hop
Rating: 8.5

Track List:
1. Kill Jay Z 2:58
2. The Story of O.J. 3:52
3. Smile (featuring Gloria Carter) 4:49
4. Caught Their Eyes (featuring Frank Ocean) 3:26
5. 4:44 4:44
6. Family Feud (featuring Beyoncé) 4:11
7. Bam (featuring Damian Marley) 3:55
8. Moonlight 2:24
9. Marcy Me 2:54
10. Legacy 2:57

4:44 is surprisingly really good. A heartfelt and emotional apology that also takes on racial stereotypes. He’s always been on the top of his game, so the reason I say ‘surprisingly good’ is because of the monster disappointment that was his last album. I kinda just assumed Jay had run his course, I mean few artists are releasing relevant engaging material once their albums hit the double digits. Here it is though, album 13 and it’s really good. Not his best, sure, but really good.

The title track ‘4:44’, easily the best song on the album, was supposedly recorded at home at exactly that time in the morning when Jay Z woke up with the song in his head. It sounds like one heart wide open apology to Beyonce for the betrayals alleged on her last album, Lemonade. Raw and emotional lyrics and great production as well. On the topic of apology and change, the song ‘Kill Jay Z’ is about killing his alter ego to become a better person. Pretty cool.

The music videos for each track on this album are more like short films with many of them containing dialogue and running much longer than the song on the album. They are all really cool. The highlight being the video for ‘The Story of OJ’ made in the style of the old racist Loony Tunes episodes that were banned from syndication, the song and video takes on racial stereotypes and how money effects the black community. The song contains the controversial line “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit / You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This is how they did it,”. Jay goes on record stating “It’s hard for me to take that serious because I’ve exaggerated every black image in the world,” he said of accusations of antisemitism. “If even you, as the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon and all the things that was happening [in the ‘Story of O.J.’ music video], if you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite.” Decide for yourself by clicking on the song in the track list above and check out the other tracks too. Each one links to it’s respective music video on Youtube. The others can be found on Jay Z’s Vevo page. Enjoy

 

Bonus Tracks

444_Bonus_Album_Cover

Rating: 8

Track List:
11. Adnis 2:26
12. Blue’s Freestyle/We Family (featuring Blue Ivy Carter) 4:23
13. MaNyfaCedGod (featuring James Blake) 3:18

5 year old Blue Ivy freestyles the intro to track 12. It mostly sounds like a 5 year old free-styling except for conscious self-aware line “never seen a ceiling in my whole life”. Can a 5 year old write that, and does it actually mean something? Whoah. Also, the final tack ‘MaNyfaCedGod’ seems like too good of a track to hide way down in the bonus section. Check it out.

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