"I would be emotionally available if I invited you over"
-Jay Z "4:44"
Black music month has came to an end, and this year it went out on a good note. Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z released his 13th studio album 4:44. A very introspective album from the celebrated and seasoned MC. At this time I am pretty sure most of you have heard or read about this album. After his retirement he came back with 2006 "Kingdom Come" and that was the album I assumed that would have the same sound as what is now being heard on 4:44
When Beyonce released her album Lemonade a year ago, she gave the listeners a glimpse into the private lives of her and Jay relationship. Created much controversy about Jay-Z cheating on queen bee. Aside from that Lemonade over all was a great body of work.
Visually stunning and deeply poetic album from Beyonce, at this time speculation was will Jay-Z have a follow up to lemonade? Is the warm up to rumored their joint album? The buzz was going crazy for a little while and like most things it died down. There was whispers and murmurs of Jay-Z coming out with an album.
For me personally,with the state of Hip-Hop as it is, I didn't see the point of a Jay-Z album. Nothing against his age, more about as him as a mogul. Post Black Album, we got Mogul Jay-Z with the exception of 2007 "American Gangsta" we saw a lot of mogul Jay especially when 2013 "Magna Carter" came out.
How would Jay fit in the mumble rap era? Well I will admit I under estimated Mr. Carter, with the arrival of 4:44. I was pleasantly surprised with this project, he over delivered on this album. The most transparent and open album in the Jay-z music catalog. He went through a range of topics from admission of his infidelity in his marriage.
He tackled older rappers vs young rappers, the wishes from Prince before he died and how his estate went against Prince wishes. The themes of financial freedom is what stood out the most to me based on the personal space that I am in. And the things that I am trying to do, he wasn't speaking nothing I have never heard.
But hearing someone like Jay-Z say hey instead of wasting money on frivolous shit, build up your credit. Especially from the guy that was big pimping on yachts in the early 2000s, and now to see him at 47 year old say hey I popped bottles did all that. And its waste of time, invest in your community, learn to build generational wealth.
As a woman in my mid thirties, I greatly appreciate this album this is an adult hip hop album, not the first adult hip hop album. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul released adult albums in 2016 which was also great albums that was well received. 4:44 is a mainstream adult hip-hop album. More importantly balance is somewhat being restored; Mumble, turn up rap what ever it is being called definitely has it place.
But not all of us want to turn on the radio and hear the same shit in the top ten, mix it up bring variety and hopefully 4:44 will lead the charge on that. I am just glad to see Jay-Z come with some relatable themes. I am no where near his wealth or stature by any means. But what I can relate to is coming from an urban environment and evolving into the adult I want to be beyond my wildest dreams.
As I write this piece, 4:44 has already been certified platinum that shows in that even in the state the music industry is in. Goes to show when an artist put out quality music, the people will come. And by time I finish this piece. It going to think pieces on how he swindled to go platinum by making the album a Tidal exclusive.
He did it with Samsung and the release of Magna Carter so this is nothing new. Nobody is waiting at midnight outside of Target to get a CD. Not happening in this era, this project made me look at streaming different. I do stream and use spotify, for the past week I been using Tidal and I kinda like it. Great documentaries, videos, concerts along with artists bodies of works.
In the beginning I was against exclusive releases, not everyone want to sign up for this or that site to hear one person album. Looking back at it, when buying CDs was a thing I have quite few purchases that I had to get from the UK. So getting access to exclusive music is nothing new in the grand schemes of things.
Overall I appreciate 4:44, this was something that hip -hop needed, It brought a great level of interest and great online and non online dialogue. Every person I called or text was asked did you hear 4:44? Outside of my music listeners clique, I was talking to a lot of people about this album and I have not done that in a long time.
Welcome Back Carter!