Last Looks

The God emcee has put the entire internet in a frenzy and the rap game on notice with his latest work 4:44. Jay Z has alway been a clever rhymer and promoter but the marketing scheme was genius using the streaming service Tidal leading up to the release of his latest work. Every cryptic post had fans wondering what this new project would entail and had people staying up so they could be the first to hear when his new music finally dropped. Jigga has been very quiet regarding recent allegations about infidelity. Hov’s wife Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade really went in on Jay and birthed Becky with the good hair so many were anxious to know if the he would have a response here. It’s always good to hear from the Jiggaman and finally having Sprint is good for something as I can’t wait listen to one of the greatest latest.

Breakdown

1. Kill Jay Z

Jigga opens his newest project about how he must kill the old him on order for him to evolve and become a better man for his wife and his children. The violent/arrogant Jay Z almost tore apart his life and risked losing his family. Now as a man recognizing the error of his ways has decided to repent. He even references Eric Benet and Future as examples of men who lost great women because of infidelity.

Nose Candy

“You got a daughter you have to get softer”

“If everyone is crazy you’re the one that is insane.”

” I almost went Eric Benet let the baddest girl get away, Never go Eric Benet”

2. The Story of Oj

While 4:44 does not have an official single The story of OJ did come with a visual that was released the same time as the album. Jay has an entrepreneurial spirit on this track where he touches on the importance of investing and putting stock into those who look like you. There are also some shots at Kanye on this record referencing to a large sum of money that Jay may have leant to his former protegé and Yeezy’s 20 minute rant on him at one of his concerts.

Nose Candy

“I’m not black I’m Oj”

“You wanna know what is more important than spending money at the strip club? Credit”

“I’m giving you million dollar game for 9.99”

3. Smile

This is a heavy track speaking about the importance of just being yourself even through all of the adversity and ridicule. Jays mom Gloria Carter makes an appearance at the end and comes out as a lesbian in a moving poem.

Nose Candy

“Hall of fame flow without a pen, I just thought I would remind you”

“Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessing”

“Niggas will like you but hate you cos they can’t be you”

4. Caught in their eyes

I have had this song on repeat. Frank Ocean comes through with an incredible hook and Jay speaks about fake love and how you have to watch people who you are closest to. He even takes a shot at the legendary Prince’s estate for going back on a deal the two had in place before his untimely death. Hov spits “Greedy bastards I’m surprised you ain’t sell the casket”

Nose Candy

“Friends will kill their friends then hug their friends mom at the funeral”

“I went to Paris two times, I seen the Eiffel and seen an eyeful”

5. 4:44

Jay’s heartfelt apology and clever response to Beyonce and Lemonade. Jigga really opens up here about his unfaithful thoughts and how he needs to stop fighting the urge and just admit that he was wrong. He also opens up about how he fears the day his daughter will ask him about his infidelity. Jay describes this moment as he will no longer seem like an invincible hero to his daughter and equates it to finding out about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy not being real.

Nose Candy

“we weren’t supposed to cry and die in these mansions alone, we were meant to vacation until our backs burn.

” I suck at love I need a do over”

“What good is a menaj a trois if you have a soul mate?”

6. Family Feud

This is just classic braggadocio Hov. The punchlines are on full display as lyrically Jigga is still at the top of his game and could still now challenge the best and current rappers. Jay speaks about the divide in rap from the older more traditional generation to the emcees of  present day. Queen Bee also lends her vocals to the hook as Jay reminds everyone how great of a rapper he is but that is just preaching to the choir..with an actual choir.

Nose Candy

” What is better than one billionaire? 2

“You would rather be old me then new you”

“No such thing as an ugly billionaire I’m cute”

7. Bam

This maybe the most radio friendly track on the album as Damian Marley comes through on this laid back reggae style beat. Jay brings it with the bars on this track as well showcasing his cocky side.

Nose Candy

“Don’t be to nice to niggas, set your price live your life”

“Skipping leg day to run your mouth, I run the world

8. Moonlight

Taking a page out of this years fiasco at the academy awards Jay spits a La La Land reference. Hova touches on certain individuals inability to evolve and that is why they have become stagnant. Qualified advice from a rapper who has still been able to stay not just relevant but on top of the rap game for 2 decades.

Nose Candy

“Stuck in La La land, even when we win we got lose”

“I don’t post a threat on the internet I pose a threat”

“The grass is greener over her cus we rake in more”

9. Marcy Me

Jay takes us back to where it all started at Marcy projects in Brooklyn New York. Even though Hov is out the hood it is those same principles that has helped him succeed to this day. you can’t forget where you came from.

10. Legacy

Blue IV makes an appearance on this song as Jay raps about all of the hard work and assets that he has acquired are all for his children so they could pass it down from generation to generation. Jiigga claims that his last name will mean something and that he strives so hard so that his offspring won’t ever have to endure the same hardships that he had to in life.

Nose Candy

” You run this hard just to stay in place”

Final Touch

Wow I am extremely impressed but considering we are talking about one of the greatest rappers ever I shouldn’t be. Jay delivers on his most personal album to date and finds balance between getting very emotional while still being able to keep his street cred. No ID has produced a masterpiece with every track being thought-provoking and rhythms that will keep the sounds of this sensation enthused in minds even when you are not listening to it. How Jay is still this great lyrically is beyond me but with his confidence he makes it seem effortless. The king may lean back on his throne but he will never fall off as Jigga will be able to spit hot bars until he is 100. Hov also gets his businessman on by providing the blueprint on how to find entrepreneurial success and becoming rich not just financially but mentally and spiritually as well. Jay seems less concerned with clapping at his detractors and tormentors now as that side of him his dead and now he is a family man focused on  being the best husband and father he can be 4:44 is the album rap needed at the right time by the right person. Jay Z comes through with an exceptional body of work not budging on his long steady grip of the game.

-Caleb Harris