“4:44” – 2017 

February 26, 2020

Artist: Jay-Z

Album: “4:44”

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.

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