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

To whom it may concern:

I know just as well as anyone else what it feels like to be in love and what it feels like to want to have someone in your life to love. I have been alarmed with the things that I have bear witness to; People who have put milestones aside to feed into their desires to be needed.

In the past year or so I have had friends have drastic and heart wrenching halts to engagements, deterioration of long term relationships, relationships ended due to dormant lies, and friends entering relationships of doom and confusion. 

I am concerned and a little bit aggravated with the happenings of those close to me. Friends, family, and readers, reality is reality and life is not a dream. I don’t want to sound like a pessimist while those close to me know that I am in a very happy place in my life. But the reality is this: many of us want so much from life and a mate that sometimes we consider settling. We find ourselves feeling like no one would understand our baggage, hang-ups, faults, quirks, damages and when someone does we get comfortable there. We overlook or make excuses for things that we’ve always disliked or saw as downfalls because they seemingly aren’t bothered by our “stuff”, so we take theirs. As someone who dealt with a lot of “stuff” I have learned that it you end up hating the fact that you dealt with so much for so long.

 Why is it that when we have a new love our lives dramatically change? When did I realize that love had changed my life? When my 2000+ rollover minutes turned into 70 minutes. For almost a year I didn’t use my anytime minutes but when I really started to get know this guy we talked more and I literally had to change my network to something that “allowed me to talk to [him] longer” to avoid a high bill. My ultimate question is how much is too much? When does a simple request turn into a demand? When are you too isolated? When have you lost everything and gained nothing?

 I’m not saying that I have any of the answers. Tonight I just have a lot of questions. I have seen friends of mine have their lives shattered by their relationships. I can’t lie it makes me tread a little softer. I won’t say it can’t happen to me… But I do have faith in myself enough to be able to see the sign before it is too late. I have been thinking about something that someone told me not too long ago, they said, “it’s impossible to be have a successful career and have a stable happy family.” This woman, who had 3 grown children and a husband to whom she had been married for many years, was telling me that I could not have a successful career and family. I refused to believe that it had to be that way. I am reaffirmed in my belief that you can have both a successful family and career without settling. I have reconnected with two women, who through my high school years spoke so much life into me, who did well for themselves and now have beautiful families. Through all they taught me in my high school years I can only believe that they did not cave to the pressures and time schedules put upon them by society. I can by no means say that they have had it easy nor can I say that they have all that they want but I can say when you do not settle you get your reward.

With love

-Imagoodgrl

On a day-to-day basis people feel the need to tell me their life stories and give me great wisdoms. And yesterday at work was no different. This guy was explaining to me why he should get what he wants and ended his call by telling me, “Your character is all you have. God does not give you character. He gives you talent. Talent may get you there but your character will keep you there.” Truthfully I never thought about that. But it has always been important to me to make sure that my character was never in question.

                I think people in general forget how important it is to make sure that your character in not in question. I was at work and one of my co-workers were talking about how her, “mother does everything right and always owes the IRS money. I do everything wrong and I always get $5600 back from the IRS. I mean everything is a risk. If you get caught you are going owe the IRS.” I thought about how crazy it was that someone would be talking about how the scam the government in public. But I realized that some people don’t care about how they represent themselves to world.

                I was talking to a woman on the phone at work. She told me she suffered from brain aneurysms. She told me a funny story about her children. I got off that phone and I was happy for her; happy that she was able to have joy in an inarguably a terrible situation. She was no victim. She is a victor. Not to say that she didn’t have pain or hard days but she defiantly saw a “light at the end of the tunnel.” I was so honored to have spoken with her. She uplifted my day. I thought about how many people I see and talk to that have not gone through anything half as trying as this lady and they count themselves as victims.  I count as a character flaw to count oneself as a victim. I say this because people who count themselves as victims feel that things are entitled to them. They feel like their existence is enough to make them worthy of something that other people have to work for. It’s really sad actually. Some people grow out of it and some grow into it but as time goes on it doesn’t matter. As long as you consider yourself a victim people will treat you like one. That is the most crippling thing that anyone can do to someone making them think that they need someone’s help. They end up stunted because they cannot depend on themselves. 

                I have been seeing many quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt and I began to realize other than her quotes I knew nothing about her. I told a friend that just by seeing her quotes it made want to read more about her. She seems like such a wise woman. It made me think of Michelle Obama. When I see her, I see a woman not without her own issues and problems but a woman who has put them aside for the common good of others. She looked within herself to open her life up to the country and moreover the world. She shares her husband and her life with the world. I am sure that she never woke up and thought “I want to be married to the President of the United States.” Yet everyday she walks in such grace though her job is far from easy.  I see women everyday that walk around with that same type of grace knowing that life in general is very far from easy. It’s not about the nice clothes and photo shoots. Not about having eloquent answers to difficult questions; it’s about having the strength to see that ultimately there are other things in life to be concerned with rather than me and mine.

                I love seeing women who are strong yet not overbearing, masculine, or jaded. I gives me hope that one day other women will want to see themselves they way others see women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama. Not that there are other women who exhibit great grace and stature but these are the women I have been impressed lately.

This is definitely not the last of Eleanor Roosevelt or Michelle Obama… its kind of tip of the iceberg. I am excited to see where my mind takes me on them. I plan to study them; I think it will be enlightening and interesting to say the least.

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people”

                                                                                                               -Eleanor Roosevelt

With an open mind and heart drinking in Chrisette Michele’s The way love feels au natural.

On January 20, 2009, as I slowly awake to get ready to go to work, I didn’t feel any sort of way. As I moved about my house I heard the TV commotion, not that of the morning news, or sponge bob square pants, not even music instruments, or television pastors. The commotion I heard was that of the inaugural procession. The commentators watching as our new president, family, and staff took their places in this country… As I watched as out president and president-elect entered a car together, my mind began to think on the topics of discussion in that car, not only that car but every car that carried every outgoing and incoming representative or person. What wisdoms, tricks, or encouragements that may have been exchanged or conveyed.

Until this day I did not have a particular fondness for President Bush. But as the procession was commencing I wondered what he could be telling President Obama. One who all to well knows that with the right amount of disaster and hardship, public opinion can diminish how the everyone will perceive you. Though he may had done many things wrong, with the advisement of his counsel, he was none the less our President in very hard times. I thought on all the wisdoms First Lady Bush was telling or has told First Lady Obama. A lot more than recipes and decorating tips. I thought on how First Lady Bush had to be telling First Lady Obama, “This time is not going to be easy on you or your family and especially not on your husband.” Telling her that “The best and worse of times are ahead.” That “there will be times that you may wish that your husband never ran for this office.” And the “life as you once knew it is no more.”

As millions on look to see what is the first African-American President take his oath, I start to think on all the people that are now pushing themselves to believe in themselves and others just a little bit more. As an Black-American woman, I have been disappointed with decisions made and opportunities lost. Disappointed in others inability to see my life, heritage, and personal struggle’s importance. And as I looked at all the people that had come from all over the world to witness this historic moment I was proud, because it wasn’t the Blacks that got him there, nor the Latinos, nor the Asians, nor the whites. But it was the belief that things needed to change and this man, with God’s help, was the one for the job.

As I sat in the break room at my job before my shift started, I listened to what I feel must have been the most needed and most powerful prayer ever prayed. Pastor Rick Warren prayed for the country, our president and his family in a way that most may not have believed but was much needed. He prayed a prayer over our president that reminded us and him that he is not only accountable to us in service but to God in life. I was amazed and touched by that prayer so much so that I want to go to his church to personally tell him.

As I think on the many expectations we as people have for others. I think about all the expectations that have been placed on out new President. In the business that I am in, I know that many Americans believe that our President has a magic button that will fix all the issues that we are facing. I want people to understand that it will take help from the American people in large and small ways to resurface… we will need to help him help us.

I am amazed, shocked, impressed, and overjoyed to see that our nation came together in such a great way to election someone who looks like me. I think back to a summer conversation that I had with dunsun. Month and exact date is escaping me. But I do recall telling him that though I hadn’t been born in the times of segregation, lunch counter sit-ins, busing inner city kids to majority neighborhood, I would be shocked that in the world that I live, that they would elect an “Black” man to lead this country. I live in a smallish town in Los Angeles County. The city in which I live majority of the residents are white and republican. The day after the election the leading story was not that of the historic land slide win of President -Elect Obama but that of city or state nonsense. The day following the inauguration leading story did include the historic passing of the torch, but the thought to myself is outside of the few, in this city or valley, that voted for him how many others were buying that paper because of this historic moment or did they lose money with this edition. But As I wrote this I looked into the images that surround this historic and monumental event. So the LA Daily news has an inaugural collector’s package for $10… And for $10 I will be able to share the most memorable thing in my life with my children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and any child that would like to see what God allow me to live to see. Along with a book that I picked up at Barnes & Noble.

So know I want to know how it feels to be a Black man in America, now?

And while I’m taking in all of this excitement,   I’m super sipping on A dream- the track in my head with still damaged natural nails