Jay-Z : 4:44

Get the latest from Beat

Jay-Z : 4:44


Even after 12 studio albums, hip hop legend Jay-Z isn’t afraid to try something new. His latest offering 4:44 strips away the opulence and panache of previous releases, leaving behind a contemplative Jay-Z reflecting on everything from his legacy, to his failings as a husband and father.

This is most apparent on the album’s title track 4:44, where Jay-Z responds to rumours of infidelity laid bare on Beyoncé’s Lemonade. The track is backed by the powerful vocals of Hannah Williams, adding another layer of vulnerability to Jay-Z’s poignant musings.

Producer No I.D. adds a soulful sheen to the project, reminiscent of Jay-Z’s classic 2001 album The Blueprint. The Story of O.J., finds Jay-Z pondering the black experience over a mellow Nina Simone sample. Or Smile, featuring a moving outro from Jay-Z’s mother about her struggles with her sexuality. Fittingly, Jay-Z ends the album with Legacy, detailing his desire to preserve his wealth for his children, so his future generations will never have to struggle like he did.

4:44 is Jay-Z’s most personal album and definitely among the best work in his catalogue. There still remains the Brooklyn rapper’s trademark double entendres and clever wordplay, but for the first time in years it’s used to create honest, meaningful music.