I don't know what plans you had for midnight EST on Friday, June 30, 2017, but once Jay Z's 4:44 dropped, any other conversation was deaded. At one point around 2 a.m., eight Twitter Trending Topics were directly related to this release, so while some might be confused about people diving into the nuances of the album, it's insane to think that this isn't a conversation that's being had right now.
Truth be told, it might not even matter, as Jay gave iHeartRadio some exclusive commentary on each of the 10 tracks on 4:44, giving listeners searching for insight outside of the direct lyric transcriptions something more. And while it's definitely easier to zone out, headphones on, and soak in the lyrics, you can't beat the artist feeding you the actual factuals.
Hov's back, and has all of the info you need to getting a base understanding of his thirteenth solo album, in track order (just to make it a bit easier). Dive in.
"Kill Jay Z"
"The first song is called 'Kill Jay Z' and obviously, it's not to be taken literal. It's really about the ego. It's about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty."
"The Story of O.J."
"'The Story of O.J.' is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we're gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger."
"'Smile' is just what it is. There are gonna be bad times, and those bad times can do two things: they can get you in a place where you're stuck in a rut, or it can make your future that much better because you've experienced these things."
"Caught Their Eyes"
"'Caught Their Eyes' is a song that's dealing with just being aware of your surroundings. There's a line in it, and it says, 'Your body language is all remedial, how could you see the difference between you and I?' Just being so sharp about your surroundings."
"'4:44' is a song that I wrote, and it's the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 AM, to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It's the title track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written."
"'Family Feud' is about separation within the culture. Like, new rappers fighting with old rappers, saying all these things. So, the line is, 'Nobody wins when the family feuds.'"
"The song 'Bam' with Damian Marley, it's just jammin', it's just like the song. But it's secretly Shawn Carter saying, 'Man, you need a bit of ego.' It was because of me and the things that I've done, this is JAY-Z saying you needed a bit of ego for us to arrive at this point."
"The hook is 'We stuck in La La Land/Even if we win, we gonna lose.' It's like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It's really a commentary on the culture and where we're going."
"'Marcy Me' is a nostalgic walk through Marcy, and it's about that hopefulness, that feeling of, 'Man, can I really do this? Can I really be one of the biggest artists in the world?' You have these dreams, 'Can I be one of the biggest basketball players?' We have these dreams."
"The song is just about what it is, it's like a verbal will. Just a song about speaking to my daughter. She starts the song off, and she says 'Daddy, what's a will?'"