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)