Jay-Z has dropped his new album 4:44. You will know this, because presumably you are a sentient being with access to the internet. What you may not know, however, is what the album is about, since it's streaming exclusively via Tidal – and if you hadn't already maxed out your extra email addresses on free trials for Lemonade you may need to fire up a brand-new gmail account soon.
So, whether you commit to Tidal, have been subscribed for ages or are just scared you'll forget that one-month free window and send up signed up to a third premium streaming service by mistake, here's some information to consider:
– It is ten tracks (unlike half of y'all's albums in recent years that've placed quality over quantity);
– It features Frank motherfucking Ocean and Damian Marley as well as Beyoncé, Blue Ivy (!) and Jay's mother Gloria Carter (!!!);
– The entire thing is produced by No ID;
– It includes an honest-to-god reference to the Al Sharpton selfie on a track about the old and new guards of rap relating to each other.
Given that the album is the first big chunk of music we've heard from Jay-Z as a lead artist since 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail, and follows his appearance in the visual conclusion to Bey's Lemonade – an album which, in part, detailed a period of instability in their marriage – early consensus surrounding the record suggests 4:44 could act as a companion piece to Bey's release. So there's that too. But, just in case you need a little more to whet your appetite, Jay-Z also discussed a number of the tracks in an interview with iHeartRadio, including their conceptions and meanings.
Of the first track, "Kill Jay-Z," he said, "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," presumably referring to the personal issues addressed on the album, while he describes the final track, "Legacy," as a "verbal will". If you have Tidal, chances are you've already devoured the record 100 times over; if you don't, you should probably get signing up. If you're ambivalent, congratulations for getting through another day on planet earth!
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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)