American rapper, Jay-Z has released a new album, 4:44 with various lyrics that seemingly refer to the trials he and wife, Beyoncé Knowles have experienced.
4:44 is Jay-Z’s long-awaited first album in four years and appears to be an apology album after his wife, Beyoncé aired details of his rumoured infidelity on her album – Lemonade, in April 2016. Fans are already speculating that if Lemonade was the accusation album, then 4:44 is the apology album.
Beyonce and Jay-Z officially became an item in the early 2000s and married in 2008. The couple are parents to daughter Blue Ivy, 5, and recently welcomed twins – a boy and a girl – on June 18, 2017.
In an undertone, Jay-Z appears to be sharing the financial and emotional value of apology in his new album which is a 10 track mini-odyssey of introspection and new found maturity, that frequently addresses his emotional shortcomings in his relationship with Beyoncé. Here are the key lyrical moments on ‘4.44’ which are suggestive:
- “You almost went Eric Benét/Let the baddest girl in the world get away” (Kill Jay-Z)
After a footage emerged of Beyoncé’s musician sister Solange Knowles attacking Jay-Z in a lift, it was interpreted by many to be over an infidelity issue – Beyoncé sang: “Of course sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”
But Jay-Z has now also addressed the ridicule, rapping: “You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away … I don’t even know what you woulda done, in the future, other niggas playing football with your son.
The Eric Benet reference pertains to the R&B singer and actor who was once married to Halle Berry but alleged infidelity from benet led to their separation.
- “Yeah I’ll f–k up a good thing if you let me/Let me alone Becky” (Family Feud)
He also references the most infamous song on Lemonade, Sorry, where Beyoncé sings: “Looking at my watch he should’ve been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on / He always got them f**king excuses /I pray to the Lord you reveal what his truth is…He only wants me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.’
Jay-Z raps: ‘I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone Becky! / A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich.” Meanwhile, on this track, Beyonce provides backing vocals.
- “I apologise, often womanize/Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes”
In a recent interview, Jay-Z admits to his philandering ways, before adding that the birth of his children made him see the error of his ways.
‘Look, I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes. He raps: ‘Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song’.
‘Like the men before me, I cut off my nose to spite my face / I never wanted another woman to know / Something about me that you didn’t know.
- “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.”
Jay-Z also continues by saying he would “probably die with all the shame” if he had let the episode break up his relationship with his daughter Blue Ivy Carter:
‘”You did what with who?” / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / “You risked that for Blue?”.
The chorus concedes: “I’m never gonna treat you, never gonna treat you like I should.”
In addition to the release of 4:44, Jay-Z also gave a breakdown of the songs’ meanings on a US radio. He said that ‘Kill Jay-Z’, in which he references the Solange incident, is “about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty”.
Another track, ‘Moonlight’, references the Oscars fiasco in which La La Land was wrongly awarded the best picture award over Moonlight. “We stuck in La La Land / Even if we win, we gonna lose,” he says, later explaining it as “a commentary on the culture and where we’re going”.
4:44 which was released exclusively on TIDAL and apparently, an apology album was the perfect vehicle Jay-Z needed to pull off a compelling piece of content to serve as an anchor for a massive deal.