In early June, Jay-Z released signs all over the music streaming network “Tidal” and New York City stating “4:44”. It was later announced it was the name of his latest album.
Since its release on June 30, Jay-Z has been making headlines. 4:44 is said to be one of his most vulnerable, honest, self-reflecting pieces of work. Not only does Jay-Z open up about his marriage with Beyoncé, he answers all the rumors regarding his infidelity to her.
Beyoncé’s latest album Lemonade made headlines for being a great symbol and piece of work for women to look to when going through a break-up. The album went through the entire evolution of the split, from when you first find out about his cheating, to the process of knowing your worth, to resentment, and lastly forgiveness. Many speculated the album was about their marriage, but it was unclear. However, with the release of 4:44 we see that Jay-Z in fact cheated on Beyoncé.
Being a young woman, I at first was shocked to hear how he could possibly cheat on one of the most influential and powerful women of our time. Clearly, if Beyoncé can get cheated on then anyone can. After my immediate shock, I grew to appreciate his honesty.
No one will ever know what went on in their marriage, but what we do know is that they got through this period. Although, I am not an advocate for cheating, they simultaneously got over this hurdle and kept the public out of their business. And more importantly, you truly see the evolution of Jay-Z as a man. From his work, you see that he acknowledges his mistakes, recognizes his wife’s worth, wants the best for their children, and is truly accepting the fact that he is a changed man who has made a lot of mistakes.
As well as shedding light on their marriage, Jay-Z tackles issues of growing up without a father figure, struggles with religion, his mother’s sexuality, and the lack of support from people in the industry. Again, Jay-Z remains completely honest about how not having his father around affected him. Furthermore, he talks about his grandfather, who was a preacher who raped his aunt. This led to a struggle of developing his religion because of the hypocrisy around him.
I believe what made this album so special was that he was not afraid to finally discuss the many things that stood as road blocks or barriers throughout his life. He chose this album to really address those issues. Not only was it a form of healing for him, I believe this can stand as a form of healing for many of those placed in similar circumstances.
This album has truly sparked a conversation. Was this Jay-Z's best piece of work? Do you think he shared too much?