Has 4:44 given everyone the motivation to get back out there with the pen? I can’t say for sure. My friend told me she wasn’t giving any “free quotes” and that her opinion would be on her blog and that mine should be on mine as well. So… here I am.

Before getting into my “review”, I want to advise I have only listened to the album in its entirety twice. I have listened to tracks 1-7 about 4 or 5 times. I have done a lot of my listening in route to somewhere and by the time I arrive I gotten to track 6 or so. I do what I need to do. Then get back in the car and ultimately start over. I have also only listened to the album in one sitting, once. With few exceptions, listening to this was the only thing I did today. And still I know I didn’t get everything. Having the lyrics to all of the songs would make everything easier but I just haven’t broke down to read them yet. I want to feel 4:44 first.

I, a Proud Tidal Subscriber, was not a part of the anxiously awaiting 4:44 crew. I was definitely a part of the “I will get to it when I get to it” crew. And when did I “get to it”? Around 10am EST. In the urgent care room with my husband, don’t worry he’s fine, nodding along to the greatness. And when something was particularly nice, I would make this sound that my husband described as the sound someone would make when “alcohol is be poured on a cut.”

After seeing lots of people talk about “The Story of OJ” my husband tells me he’s going to listen to the song. “No, listen to it in the way it’s presented. Top to Bottom. It’s the second track on the album,” I say. In a dragging his feet kind of way, he says “okay.” After Lemonade, its been really important for me to listen to an album first from top to bottom. Then when A Seat at the Table came out it reinforced why it is important to listen to an album top to bottom for the first listen. I assume if you are with me here you have heard 4:44 but if not listen to it in speakers not a headset. I literally missed things in my headset that I caught in the speakers of the car. And do not proceed because spoilers. Is there a such thing as music spoilers? I digress.

I enjoyed the album in its entirety. Period. Point Blank. It’s a very mature piece of work. It’s made for a mature mind. Also it was made to plant a seed for the future. Jay-Z has officially turned into Uncle Jay, Unc if you will, with 4:44. He’s giving you advice that if you heed it today, your life will be easier tomorrow. He’s telling you about mistakes that he’s made so you don’t have to make them. If you were looking for a club banger this isn’t your album. And that’s okay. Uncle Jay is almost 50 years old and a lot of people aren’t going to the club at that age, unless they are getting paid. This a grown folks album. For those of us with responsibilities. Its perfect.

I have one major question. WHEN DID HE WRITE THIS?  There is the Moonlight/ LaLa Land reference. Al Sharpton and Bill Cosby references, that was literally last week! When did you write this Uncle Jay?

Uncle Jay is a lyricist, we know this. But come on! Unc, you out did yourself with this one. Just jewels on jewels on jewels.

Favorite songs-

3. The Story of OJ – This is one of the times I thought when did he write this. It seemed topical. My first thoughts, “Is the hook a reference to the Bill Maher controversy?” Black people nowadays don’t make many references to house and field niggas outside of slavery, so it definitely felt like it was. The financial wisdom that he drops. He passed on the opportunity to get property for $2 mil and now that spot is worth $20mil! “Dumbo.” Knowing what to do with what you have and when. He explains the value of Art and Tidal. This is the wisdom.

2. 4:4 – An apology for being ain’t shit???? Not just to his wife but to women he’s hurt in general! Also specifically to his wife! I loved it! Loved it!

1. Family Feud- “And old niggas y’all stop actin’ brand new/ Like 2 Pac didn’t have a nose ring too.” I guess because since he’s been on the internets talking about such things, the first person I thought of was Joe Budden. While I do not know any Lil’ Yachty songs, I actually had to google how to spell his name correctly, I do know that he’s just out here trying to put out music. Like it or not. Uncle Jay saying leave them alone is what’s needed. If he’s the GOAT in so many eyes and he’s saying back down. Back down! Don’t Go Joe Budden. “A man that don’t take care of his family can’t be rich.” Church! “Al Sharpton in the mirror taking selfies/ How is him or Bill Cosby supposed to help me?” Those guys are old think. The times have changed and they don’t get it. Our help can’t come from people like them anymore. They did what they did. Now we do what we do. “We all lose when the family feuds” “I be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got Ciroc.” I was making my sound ALL through this song! I love it! Then Uncle Jay is promoting another Black Business on his album!

Honorable mention- Legacy. Period. Uncle Jay reinforcing why generational wealth is necessary.

Samples. Where all of the songs samples? When something works, you work it. Uncle Jay has worked with many producers who have sampled songs but I felt like the samples this time around were more intentional than by happenstance. Example, “Izzo” off of The Blueprint uses a sample of Jackson Five’s “I want you back” it’s a distant background to the song. But Nina Simone’s “Four Women” was an additional layer to “The Story of OJ.” There was a clear vision and the samples proved that. Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, The Clark Sisters, The Fugees, and MORE.

Because its 2017, the internet streets are always talking and buzzing. I came across some interesting takes and ideas. One friend asked, “Did [Uncle Jay] take the Grammy from Kendrick?” This same friend said ” 4:44= Lemonade for Men.” While I’m not a man, I disagree a little. Lemonade was about love; of, for, and from your Significant other, your father,  and for you people. 4:44 is a life guide.

Charlamagne the God tweeted, “The reason you don’t have Jay-Z new album is because you don’t support Black Businesses.” I have been a Tidal Subscriber for over a year now. I enjoy the playlist they put together and a lot what I listen to is there. I never thought about it as supporting a Black Business. I did think of it as supporting artists though. Things that make you go hmmm.

I appreciate this album. It is substantive. It was cohesive. And clearly very well thought out. Which is literally not saying anything given who we’re talking about.

-Imagoodgrl

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