I have this on again off again relation with Tidal. It’s mostly off until the greatest MC of all time decides to sell me some music. JAY-Z ‘s latest album 4:44, hit the streaming site at 3:00 this morning, but I had to think (emoji) a few hours before buying because the last time we tried to work things out, he gave us “Magna Carta” and we dont even talk about that anymore.
No lead single, No overdone marketing, just 10 tracks of real rap raw, with meme-ready quotables on every song. At times, it seems like all Jay does in between albums is read what the internet says about him.
“Uh, niggas is skippin’ leg day just to run they mouth”
The album opens up with “Kill JAY-Z” and immediately makes us aware of his latest target: criticism. Nobody deals with their haters better than him. He also shoots at today’s mumble/vibe rap by not really giving a fuck about how he flows on the record. This ain’t music to dance to, it’s music to listen to. Its the Decoded book with beats.
“You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away…nigga never go eric benet….In the future, other dudes will be playing football with your son.”
Where as I always look for a lone introspective effort on a Jay album, the WHOLE thing is revelatory. From old news like him stabbing Lance “Un” Rivera to admitting publicly that his mom is a lesbian to at least 8 bars about why he buys art. This, a not-so-subtle jab at Drake.
“I bought some artwork for one million/Two years later, that shit worth two million/Few years later, that shit worth eight million/I can’t wait to give this shit to my children”
Like any smart 48 year old man, Shawn Carter has some great financial advice and has no problem sharing it on his 13th studio album. If you live in Brooklyn, you know Jewish-Americans own property by and large. When Jay says “you ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” He isnt dissing or being anti-semetic, but actually giving props. He wants Black folks to pool money, invest wisely, and stop f**king up the neighborhood “your mama pay rent in.”
While its too many teenagers in rap delivering tough talk, Big Homie is giving the hood a ted talk. This is strictly for grown folks. Im ready to work this thing out again all for the culture. Hovie’s home, and he brought us lemonade, is naming names, and the album of the year.