For the past few weeks, it seems everyone has been talking about the release of Jay-Z’s highly anticipated 13th studio album, 4:44. For those of us who already used up our free month of Tidal (with Apple Music and Spotify, how many music subscriptions can we really justify, after all?), we likely had to wait to get a listen to the much-hyped tracks.
Aside from the onslaught of critical praise and expected rejoice from Jay-Z fans who had been patiently waiting for new material, there is one thing everyone hasn’t been able to stop talking about: the response lyrics to his wife’s emotional album, Lemonade.
The Lemonade was a proverbial mic drop in the music industry, giving millions of fans a rare glimpse into the personal turmoil (and eventual reconciliation) that had unraveled between one of the most powerful – and presumably untouchable – couples in the game.
As the dust finally settled following Lemonade, the couple was left to embrace the public’s eye seemingly happier than ever as they recently celebrated the birth of twins, Rumi and Sir Carter on June 18th, 2017. No one was really thinking about Jay-Z’s previous affairs or marital drama — that is, until now.
In similar fashion to Lemonade, Jay-Z makes a number of relatively direct references to Bey’s last album and his alleged infidelities:
“Hold Up”: “Never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets”
“Kill Jay-Z”: “You almost went Eric Benét / Let the baddest girl in the world get away”
“Pray You Catch Me”: “You can taste the dishonesty / It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier”
“Kill Jay-Z”: “You egged Solange on / Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong”
“Forward”: “Go back to your sleep in your favourite spot just next to me”
“4:44”: “And all this ratchet shit and we more expansive not / Meant to cry and die alone in these mansions / Or sleep with our back turned”
“Sorry”: “He always got them fucking excuses / I pray to the lord you reveal what his truth is / I left a note in the hallway / By the time you read it, I’ll be far away”
“4:44”: “I suck at love, I think I need a do-over / I will be emotionally available if I invited you over / I stew over what if you over my shit?”
“Sorry”: “Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright / We gon’ live a good life”
“4:44”: “And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do / If they ain’t look at me the same / I would prolly die with all the shame”
“Sorry”: “He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair”
“Family Feud”: “Yeah, I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone Becky!”
“Sorry”: “Now you want to say you’re sorry / Now you want to call me crying”
“4:44”: “We talked for hours when you were on tour / Please pick up the phone, pick up the phone”
“Sandcastles”: “I made you cry when I walked away.”
“4:44”: “I promised I cried I couldn’t hold. I suck at love, I need a do-over.”
“4:44”: “Said ‘don’t embarrass me’ instead of ‘be mine’/That was my proposal for us to go steady/That was your 21st birthday.”
“4:44”: “I apologize often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song / I don’t deserve you.”
“4:44”: “‘You did what with who?’ / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / ‘You risked that for Blue?'”
“Kill Jay-Z”: “But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue”
In addition to the highly personal lyrics, Jay-Z has released an 11-minute video “Footnotes for ‘4:44′”, which features deep conversations about relationships with women and interviews with celebrities like Chris Rock, Will Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Paul, Jesse Williams, Aziz Ansari, Mahershala Ali and Meek Mill.
In the clip, Jay-Z admits that “This is my real life. I just ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth and it starts cracking. Things start happening that the public can see. Then we had to get to a point of, ‘Okay, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning … It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Beyonce might have given us lemonade, but Jay-Z gave us tea.
Tickets for Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour go on sale to the general public starting Friday, July 14th at 10 AM, with his Toronto stop coming to the Air Canada Centre on November 22nd.