Jay-Z - 4:44 (Review)

I was one of the few people who enjoyed Magna Carta, Holy Grail, but then I took it for what it was. Simply a fun album where Jay would occasionally step his toe into untamed waters like on songs Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit. To be fair it's ridiculously titled but I really just enjoyed the flashiness of the album. Sometimes rap needs that sense of bragging, and who better to do it than someone who is nigh on a millionaire? But nonetheless the album was still undeniably average. Fun, but average. The problem is that Jay-Z has no reason to rap anymore, he's incredibly rich, he has a family and a thriving business. So what did he need to get back in the booth? Well Trump being inaugurated as President of the United States has obviously awoken Hova from his slumber. However, the long time Obama fan rarely mentions politics on this album, which is strange because I was expecting it to be very politically charged and full of anger. But instead what we have received is a very thought provoking and insightful album from the self-proclaimed greatest rapper alive.

The album starts strong with the song titled "Kill Jay-Z". A very insightful song which looks at all of his problems, his over use of his money, forgetting his heritage and cheating on his wife. But there's also a sense of fragility as he begins to worry that he has betrayed his family, and his daughter will not respect him and look up to him. I think what this song is, is the end of Jay-Z as we know the hard headed rapper and the proclamation of Shawn Carter, the fragile, nearly 50 dad whom hides behind this tough exterior. Also, what this song shows us is something that is evident through the whole album, which is No ID's absolutely stunningly beautiful production. Most notably on the tracks The Story of OJ and Bam. These two tracks carry such a heavy and processed beat that Jay-Z just flows over with such ease.

Something that is very evident on this album is that Jay-Z has taken a side stage role and Shawn Carter has taken over, because this is such an open and honest album that it's hard to see any bragadociousness on this, instead it's very raw. He talks about things such as infidelity, shame, legacies. The latter is particularly heartbreaking as he worries that his children won't be proud of him and instead they'll be ashamed of him because of his past and his public infidelity with their mother. It's strange to hear such famous people addressing such private issues through their forms of art. They do say the best creativity comes from truth.