The title track of the rapper’s new album is a repenting ode to his wife and the family they built together
Beyoncé’s groundbreaking album Lemonade told a narrative of infidelity, but by the end of its running time it seemed that the singer had forgiven her husband for his alleged transgressions. The record tarnished Jay-Z’s name, and in the aftermath, we were left wondering what would become of Jay-Z in future: Did he sign off on this? If so, why? How awkward is breakfast for them now?
With the release of the newly re-hyphenated rapper’s new album 4:44 last night, it seemed inevitable that he’d address the controversy. And on title track “4:44”, he did more than that – he shoulders all the blame and attempts to philosophise about his missteps, with candid lyrics like “What good is a menage-a-trois when you have a soulmate?”
The songs also sees him talk about how it took the birth of his first child, Blue Ivy, to help him realise the error of his ways, and the shame he feels thinking about if his children were ever to find out and think of him differently. He makes reference to their difficulty to get pregnant earlier on in their marriage as his fault and apologises for disillusioning her with his emotional unavailability and refusal to mature, despite being more than ten years her senior.
Until recently, the couple and their growing family had maintained an impressive level of privacy, curating exactly what we were allowed to see of their life together. In the last year and a half, the doors have been kicked in and we have borne witness to some of the most intimate conversations of any relationship at all, let alone two titans of the entertainment industry. It will definitely take some getting used to, but for the meantime we’re just glad that Jay-Z has awoken in time for the birth of their twins.
Elsewhere on 4:44, as Attitude report, Jay-Z includes a pro-LGBT song called “Smile”, in which he publicly opens up about his mother Gloria Carter’s sexuality for the first time: “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take,” he raps, before Gloria herself gives a spoken word outro.
Listen to “4:44” via Tidal below.