*As promised, Jay-Z dropped his new album, “4:44” on Sprint and Tidal’s platforms at midnight, and along with it released an animated video for one of its tracks titled, “The Story of OJ”
But it’s another part of “4:44” that is making headlines for its lyrics that appear to be an admission of his alleged infidelity that was first highlighted by Beyonce on her “Lemonade” album.
Without naming the woman Bey referred to as “Becky with the good hair” in her track “Sorry,” Jay raps: “I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song / I don’t deserve you.”
He also spits at one point: “You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away.” and “Leave me alone, Becky.”
In addition to claiming that the birth of their 5-year-old daughter Blue Ivy set him straight, and that his newborn twins were naturally conceived, Jay also expressed the “shame” he would feel if the three of them ever found out about his infidelity.
Another verse includes the lyrics: “And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do.
“If they ain’t look at me the same / I would probably die with all the shame / ‘You did what with who?’ / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / ‘You risked that for Blue?’”
Fans can tune into his new album over the next 24 hours for free via iHeartRadio’s 160 Pop, Rhythm and Urban radio stations. The new release will continue to spin across iHeartMedia’s Urban and Rhythm stations until midnight July 1, along with “never-before-heard” commentary from the rapper himself.
Last night, Jay-Z went on iHeartRadio to break down the meaning behind each “4:44” track, all produced by No I.D.
Here’s what he had to say:
“‘4:44’ is a song that I wrote, and it’s the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 AM, to write this song. 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.”
“The song ‘Bam’ with Damian Marley, it’s just jammin’, it’s just like the song. But it’s secretly Shawn Carter saying, ‘Man, you need a bit of ego.’ It was because of me and the things that I’ve done, this is Jay-Z saying you needed a bit of ego for us to arrive at this point.”
“Caught The Eye”
“‘Caught The Eye’ is a song that’s dealing with just being aware of your surroundings. There’s a line in it, and it says, ‘Your body language is all remedial, how could you see the difference between you and I?’ Just being so sharp about your surroundings.”
“‘Family Feud’ is about separation within the culture. Like, new rappers fighting with old rappers, saying all these things. So, the line is, ‘Nobody wins when the family feuds.'”
“The first song is called ‘Kill Jay-Z’ and obviously, it’s not to be taken literal. It’s really about the ego. It’s about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty.”
“The song is just about what it is, it’s like a verbal will. Just a song about speaking to my daughter. She starts the song off, and she says ‘Daddy, what’s a will?'”
“‘Marcy Me’ is a nostalgic walk through Marcy, and it’s about that hopefulness, that feeling of ‘Man, can I really do this? Can I really be one of the biggest artists in the world?’ You have these dreams, ‘Can I be one of the biggest basketball players?’ We have these dreams.”
“The hook is ‘We stuck in La La Land/Even if we win, we gonna lose.’ It’s like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”
“‘Smile’ 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.”
“The Story of OJ”
“‘The Story of OJ’ is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”
So far, the only full length video from the album is from “The Story of O.J.”
The video for the Nina Simone-sampled track plays off traditional African-American “sambo” stereotypes. Mark Romanek directs the clip, which has Jay as Jaybo, rapping, “Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga / Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga Still nigga, still nigga,” as images of cotton fields, burning crosses, slave ships and lynchings appear on-screen.
“The Story of O.J” video is just simple and flawless and powerful. Watch it immediately. pic.twitter.com/DUvgQP9aC1
— 🔪FADIA KADER (@FADIA) June 30, 2017