“Can’t leave rap alone , the game needs me.” Famous words spoken by one of Hip Hop’s elite. The year was 2001 and the song was Izzo (H.O.V.A). Sixteen years and seven solo albums later, Shawn Carter, also known as Jay Z, has not been proven wrong yet. The Master Teacher, as Kendrick Lamar affectionately called him in a recent tweet, just released his thirteenth solo album. In a matter of minutes the album quenched the thirst of many true fans of the veteran MC.
“I’m not a business, man I’m a businessman.” Jay told us that way back in 2005, when he jumped on Kanye’s Diamond from Sierra Leone remix. Currently his new album is exclusively available on two platforms. One being the music streaming service Tidal, which is partially owned by Shawn Carter. The album is also available to Sprint customers, the wireless communication service also owns a small percentage of Tidal.
Jay Z recently told IHeart Radio, the tittle, 4:44, derived from the time he woke up one morning and started writing the title track for the album. IHeart Radio was the sole radio station premiering the album, playing the 10 tracks several times, strategically throughout the first 24 hours of its release. Don’t worry, the exclusion won’t last forever. According to Billboard.com, the album will be available on Apple Music, ITunes and physically very soon.
“Made a right on 79th, I’m coming down South Shore Drive.” Remember 2011 on Gotta Have It, that time every south Chicago native was like, what Jay Z know about The 9? Well, for the first time in his career, Jay Z’s entire album was produced by one person. The Chicago bred producer, known as No I.D., is no stranger to Hip Hop.
His production credits include Common, Kanye, Alicia Keys, Jhene Aiko and more. No I. D. founded his own music label, Atrium Records in 2011. He also holds the title of Executive Vice President of A&R for Def Jam Recordings. When asked about working with Jay Z on 4:44, the veteran producer and music executive told Rolling Stone, the album is about Shawn Carter opening up and him scoring that.
“What more can I say to ya, you heard it all.” He was questioning himself in 2003 for a brief moment. Jay Z ‘s efforts to give his fans more is apparent throughout 4:44. There are moments he appears to be checking his ego, admitting to flaws and loosely confirming rumors. He also reveals his cares and concerns for the future.
“Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense.” A Moment of Clarity Shawn Carter had in 2003. He shows us his conscious side with The Story of OJ, a song detailing the fact that no matter what adjective you place in front of it,you are still a noun (not his actual n word of choice but it works just the same).
He seems to be responding to the Heisman Trophy winners belief that he can be separated from the color of his skin. His mom, Gloria Carter, recites a poem after Smile, a song where he professes his unconditional love for her. Another moment of cognizance presents itself with Legacy. In this song he encourages Blue Ivy and the twins to use their inheritance to contribute to the betterment of black people.
“…either love me or leave me alone.” This infinitely valid PSA from 2003 needs no explanation. I found 4:44 to be an exceptional showcase of Jay Z’s growth as an artist and a man. I also believe him and No I.D. were more of a dynamic duo than Batman and Robin. If you are a fan of Jay Z , you are going to adore his thirteenth album.
If the other 12 albums haven’t done it for you, I think it is safe to say Shawn Carter is not in your top 5. 4:44 is out, not everywhere yet, but hopefully the rumors are true and the exclusions will be nullified soon.