Back around the later half of May, mysterious ads promoting something called 4:44 began appearing on websites, billboards across major metropolitan areas and finally in national TV spots. We soon learned that the title was the cryptic name of JAY-Z’s 13th solo studio album which would be an exclusive release via TIDAL and Sprint. Right up until tonight we knew very little about this project except for a rumor that veteran producer and Capitol Music vice president No I.D. would be handling all of the production. The idea of a new Jay album alone is enough to get the culture bubbling, but when you tell us No I.D. is overseeing every single beat, the level of excitement rises exponentially.
I.D. has previously collaborated with Jay on a number of notable tracks, including “All Around the World” from The Blueprint 2, “Success” featuring Nas, “D.O.A” and the Kanye and Rihanna collaboration “Run This Town”. It’s fair to say the Ye and Rihanna track ended up being the biggest hit the pair worked on, but the production on all of these was top notch. What little we’ve heard from 4:44, in three promo spots released over the last couple of weeks, has sounded very promising.
With intriguing titles such as “Adnis” (the name of Jay’s late dad), “KILL JAY-Z” and “MaNyfaCedGod,” the promotional clips hint at a deeper and more introspective project than we’ve heard from Hov in a minute. The fact that he has also become far more active in social issues such as mass incarceration, the failed War on Drugs, and police brutality could also give us an idea of where Jay’s head was while recording this album. Finally, just today it was revealed that he has shot a video with a prison theme with wokeness icon Jesse Williams.
Fuck talking about it though, let’s get into this. Stream the 10-track 4:44 below or via Tidal/Sprint now, and yes, I caved and reactivated my subscription just for this.