"Right on Time"
'Y'all think its boujie, I'm like it's fine / I'm tryna give y'all a billion dollars worth of game for $9.99' - Hov
This being only one of the bars that speak to what this album is all about. On June 30, JAY-Z released his 13th album 4:44 exclusively via Tidal. Somehow on this new album, Jigga was able to reinvent himself again with another direction in content. The first element about the album that immediately stands out is the production. The production and sound on the album was strictly done by No I.D (who executively produced the album). In the past No I.D. has been known to work with Kanye West, Nas, Big Sean, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna and more star artists. On this album though, him and Jay decide to go a different direction with their sound, and pay homage to a list of timeless music. Every song on 4:44 was a sample of another notable song from the past. From the sample of Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today" on "Smile", to the sample of "Fu-Gee-La" by The Fugees on "Moonlight", Jay touches sounds from many great eras in the history of black music. This being genius because of the rap content that compliments this idea.
The rap gems on this album are wrapped around the idea of black excellence and positively influencing black culture. The album starts early with "The Story of OJ" where Hov talks about the importance of being financially free while being conscious of the black history in America. Throughout the rest of the album, Jay continues to circle around this idea and encouraging black people to become more independent while chasing their dreams, specifically within the music industry. Next to the business Jay, he was able to apply some humor and wit throughout the album of course. Although we never see Hov engaging in media, he made sure that we knew he was still in tact with the world's shenanigans and hasn't missed a beat. In "Family Feud" Hov referred to Al Sharpton's selfies and Bill Cosby's women situation in bars back-to-back. In "The Story of OJ" he spoke to the trend of rappers posing on social media with money trying to flex, while reminding them that is never the way to do it. In "Bam", Jay talked about not hitting leg day after being cooked online for having skinny legs in recent years.
Throughout all of the game given on these tracks, the true crux of the album was the track "4:44", which may have been Jay's most personal song ever. In this album titled song, JAY-Z took the time to address his previous mistakes made in his relationship. After the release of Lemonade in early 2016, a lot of issues within his famous relationship were brought to surface but he made sure to right his wrongs with this track. This song, he says, came to him at 4:44am one morning and is generally about how he does not deserve his wife and is trying to doing right by their relationship in the future. In this song he apologizes 13x over a sample of a song called "Late Nights and Heartbreak" by Hannah Williams, that starts off with: "Do I find it so hard / When I know in my heart / I'm letting you down everyday / letting you down everyday / why do I keep running away?". This continues to speak further on how Jay have tried to make his wife happy after years of failure. However, this song suggests a new beginning for them both.
Overall it goes without saying that this may be an instant classic based off it's impact on the culture, enlightening content, and it's 'straight to the point' feel in duration. Ultimately the question is: Where will this rank in Jay's collection? After 13 albums, Hov is the only rapper who can still go Platinum in 5 days. Thats nuts; Salute!
My favorite moments on 4:44 are "The Story of OJ", "Family Feud" with the rough Beyonce vocals, "Smile" with the Stevie Wonder sample, and "Moonlight" with the most clever hook ever.