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.



So with the hype of all of the songs that reference Independent women, my sister and I found ourselves wondering what they are actually trying to say and asking ourselves do they really want what they think they want. I have listened to most of the current and not so current circulations of the songs; some of which have good beats and catchy choruses and some of them have some interesting wording.

One day Webbie’s Independent was on and I was dancing to it…undeniably the beat is super dope. My sister was like “I can’t deny the song is dope but why do I feel like these dudes tryna be lazy?” And I think I can understand the point of a woman being about her money and how that can make her more appealing. My sister’s thought was if I’m getting my money what are you doing? And I guess a ballin’ chick is good until you factor in that if she’s all about her money she’s not about you. Now by no means am I downing a chick who is getting paid, for all who didn’t know I “gets” mine.  I was listening to Neyo’s She Got Own where he says” I love her ’cause she got her own She don’t need mine, she said leave mine alone There ain’t nothin that’s more sexy Than a girl that want but don’t need me” And I guess in a theory any dude would love that just the same a bust it baby[1], but that is another blog entirely. Back to the original point. In theory a bad chick with her own paper is dope. But I want any dude who is chasing that girl to beware. I will introduce you to her.

Hello, I am that girl. I have my own and the way I see it is if your stacks don’t at least double mine, do we really have anything to talk about? I work hard for my money and you should have more benefits than I do. To approach me you need to have at least 6 figure paycheck, foreign car, deep pockets to take me anywhere that I could ever fathom. If you don’t have pedigree you don’t have a chance with me. Baby if you take me to the store and you ain’t rollin AMEX Black then I’m bouncing.

Funny?  The clearest picture of the girl in she got her own. The girl in Neyo’s song is the cleverest of gold diggers. She’s paid. She doesn’t need your money… But she sure will spend it without hesitation. And understand I am not a hater. Not in the least but once again I “gets” mine, so I understand loving making your own money but I also understand if you can get a dude with paper you don’t have to spend your own. And this is the girl from Neyo’s song.

But flipside the brainwashing of the Independent Female… The chick that believes she don’t need a dude. She has everything that she needs and she got it on her own. She doesn’t need you for anything at all. And she ain’t trippin’.  Beyonce says in Independent Women pt1The shoes on my feet I bought it The clothes I’m wearing I bought it The rock I’m rockin’ ’cause I depend on me If I wanted the watch you’re wearin’ I bought it The house I live in I bought it The car I’m driving I bought it I depend on me”  A woman, whom no one could debate that she has done the dang thang herself, goes on to write a song about women not only buying for themselves but for their boo also and reminding him of it. That is how I read. By the way she’s not doing that she’s just Upgrading you. It brings me to something from a while ago. During my campus days in Maryland, I had this boyfriend and one day we were in my room eating sub sandwiches… And he had finished his found and his soda and reaches for mine….Seeing how much was in my bottle I asked him to wait until I had finished my food and he did…When I go to reach for my soda he snatches it up before I get to it… Trust and believe I was pissed… At which time I say “You’ve already finished your soda. Can I at least get a drink of my soda?” at which time he responds “That I bought”…At which I had to advised him that if he was always going to remind me of things that he bought me to not buy anything for me anymore… It’s childish. And that was the end. Point? Point being that when Destiny’s Child sings “The watch on your wrist I bought it” is reminding dude that you got him something. Now people who know me know I love shopping for dudes so when birthday’s come I get dope gifts. I love a man in a dope suit. Side note. I buy killer ties. Another side note. But I have never had to remind any dude or any one that I got them something. The only time you need to let someone know that you bought them something is when you need attention and that is so unattractive… I hate “look at me” personalities.

So this did start somewhere and I am finding this post’s center. And here it is. There is nothing wrong with being a woman, or man for that matter, with your own paper but if you want to build anything you will need more than money to do so. And by no means am I saying that money is worthless… I go to work EVERYDAY for the money. But right now I am just me and one day when a man that can handle the fact that I enjoy pampering myself so why should we do the same we other if we have it, we will be cool. I recall being in my training class at my job and we took a break and started discussing what we would want to do with our life…And I said that I want to be able to be a stay at home mom one day… And one of the girls in my class tells me that I need to take a women’s studies class at the nearest community college… At which I tell her “I have taken multiple women’s studies classes at the college level and staying at home with my children does not make weak or any less smart.” And which time she responds “Well I just want to be able to just get up and go to Hawaii and spend $100 on myself.” and I responded “I want to be able to go to Hawaii and be able to spend $100,000 on my family”. That said my point is having and spending money is not terrible but what are you spending on and with whom.

So right now I am self portrait drinking Kelly Clarkson- Miss Independent with chipped cherry red on.

[1]  Bust it baby- A girl that is good in all aspects. For example, she walks like a model, great kisser, attitude on point, from the hood but she speaks proper, “sex game” is described as amazing, she’s not nagging and respects a guy and give him space when necessary, eases a dude’s mind. Basically a hood nigga’s dream girl.