“4:44” – 2017
February 26, 2020
Must Listen Track: “The Story of O.J.”
Best Feature: Frank Ocean – “Caught Their Eyes”
After 13 Studio albums, Shawn Carter, known as Jay-Z, has changed dramatically since he started rapping in the mid-’90s, and he knows this. On 4:44 Jay-Z gives the listener a glimpse of his life as a billionaire, and classily raps about new bourgeois topics such as expensive paintings, investing and credit.
Due to his longtime musical prominence, Jay-Z sees himself as judge, jury, and executioner for the next generation of rap, either calling out or endorsing the younger artists, while reminiscing of his history of street thuggery. Jay-Z understands his legendary reputation and uses his status to spread progressive verses through endorsing the LGBTQ+ movement, which would have been unheard of during Jay-Z’s era of rap.
As the closing track, “Legacy” would confirm, 4:44 has firmly cemented Jay-Z as a hip-hop legend who can still deliver insightful and compelling bars despite his older age.