Those who know me know that I have always loved music. Music has accompanied me through the highs and lows of life and often given me the inspiration to want more for myself and to do better.
When I heard that Jay – Z was going to release a new album, I wasn’t really sure how to feel. To me, the last album was mildly entertaining – it felt forced, i.e. a track titled Tom Ford. This release back in 2013 had me wondering – has he lost his touch?
As a long time fan of Jay – Z, I was looking for something different. In this new album, titled 4:44, he didn’t disappointment – he came out dropping word bombs! The subject matter is on-point and he seems to have matured. The album content is like an early Christmas present for people aged 30+ who are going through real life events – sexuality, marriage, babies, buying houses, cars, working 9- 5. His audience has grown and Jay Z talks right at us – offering game.
I believe in full disclosure – and if I am honest as I write this I haven’t even listened to the album. I tried to sign up to Tidal just so that I could listen to the album – but being the true hustler that is Jay – Z, he was ahead of us and blocked that ability. I guess that’s what we get for “not supporting black businesses” right? Apparently, there will be a mass release later on the week.
Thank God for social media! I have pretty much heard all of the songs on YouTube (not in their entirety, just snippets) so I have a rough idea of the beats and production. Without the ability to listen to the music, I turned my attention to the lyrics and boy oh boy are they JUICY! Reading the lyrics you get the sense that Jay – Z is at a point in his life where he just doesn’t care what anyone thinks – letting it all hang out there – on his terms.
The key messages I have taken away, just from reading and absorbing the lyrics, are:
Generational wealth. My husband and I often speak about this at home. The reason people of colour often have to start from scratch every time is because parents don’t have enough or do to survive their lifetime – often unable to give their children a head start. Yes, history is responsible for a lot of this, but what are we going to do in our present to ensure that our kids’ future is different? Better education, Investing money for long-term gain etc.
That elevator incident? Solange whooped Jay – Z’s ass because he cheated (or was cheating) on Beyonce. On the album Jay – Z publicly apologises – they have moved on and as spectators I guess we need to move on too (yikes, the Beyhive will be mad as hell).
Like most of us, Jay isn’t feeling the new Kanye. We want the old Kanye, the soulful Kanye.
In the album his mother comes out as a lesbian and he supports her. Hip – hop is notorious for discriminating those that choose to have same-sex relationships – as a hip-hop heavyweight highlighting this subject matter in a positive light is important.
That’s all that I could get my head around for now, without having a listening party in my car as I commute to and from work. I just can’t wait until this album is widely available! Ten songs, thirty – six minutes long and full of loaded content. 4:44 is black art that will take a long time to be fully dissected.
One other thing – before I sign off, I feel like I need to apologise to Beyonce. I have always been a massive fan of her – until ironically she released Lemonade. Back then, I thought she had become a sellout. A sell out because I thought she had created this fictional story of infidelity in her marriage to sell records. Jay – Z’s release of 4:44 proves otherwise. I am sure I am not the only one who is listening to “Lemonade” with a new found appreciation.
Marriage is hard – you and your spouse need to be reading the same book, on the same page, turning to read the next chapter in unison. Above all, it is nice to see a black family who, against all odds, remained strong and most importantly, together.