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On Friday, Jay-Z (once again with hyphen) released his 13th(ish) studio album, 4:44. The remarkably stripped back hip-hop record was produced entirely by mentor No ID, welcoming only three guests into the fold. One of which is Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, who offers a mantra for liberation. “Love who you love,” she implores. Her son has already discussed her sexuality.
It forms part of a theme of redemption and empowerment. Jay, real name Shawn Carter, focuses on his culture. On The Story of OJ he celebrates his success with notable humility. On Family Fued he takes on Becky, the one with the good hair. He admits to his infidelity.
4:44 is in part a response to wife Beyonce’s iconic Lemonade. Yet despite what certain corners of the internet would let you believe, it’s so much more. It’s about black liberation, a celebration of culture, and a man coming to terms with the reality of his decisions.
Understandably, the internet has gone wild.
For many, it’s all about respect.
Jay Z, Kendrick & J cole are probably the only top artists right now who pull off sending a message and make good songs
— Skateboard P (@peter_mistretta) July 2, 2017
so happy bout this new Jay Z. alas some guidance.
— felly (@fellythekid) July 2, 2017
THIS JAY Z ALBUM MADE ME REALIZE HOW LONG ITS BEEN SINCE I HEARD A ACTUAL GROWN MAN RAP. REFRESHING.
— Banco Poppa (@SirMichaelRocks) July 1, 2017
another masterpiece by JAY Z. these lyrics…powerful!!
— tiller (@brysontiller) July 1, 2017
— Larry Johnson (@2LarryJohnson7) June 30, 2017
For some, it’s inspiration.
Hopefully JayZ Album will get y'all to be smart, invest your money and think long term wealth, instead of flexing all the time.
— ✨Vino✨ (@A1_Athlete) June 30, 2017
For all, it’s about empowerment.
Jay z dropped the dopest album yet & he did it for the culture
— Ponce De'Leioun (@PonceDeLeioun) July 1, 2017
Also let's not forget Jay Z released 4:44 under his own record label,streamed on his own App…greatness not only in words..taking notes!
— oseni babatunde (@Illuminhearty) July 1, 2017
Jay z got people crying, doing math homework, paying child support, deleting instagram, cleaning up their rooms, putting on condoms… #jayz
— ESVYBE (@ESVYBE) June 30, 2017
Some are calling it already.
Catch Jay-Z at Virgin V Festival, with tickets available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.