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Jay Z has spent his entire career working out his relationship with his dad.
Abandoned by his father, Adnis Reeves, at the age of 11, Hov internalized years of pain and sprinkled it into his lyrics. They reconciled in 2003, just months before Reeves died of liver failure. While short-lived, the restored relationship seems to have helped heal some of Jay’s emotional wounds, but the scars are still visible.
The trailer to Jay Z’s new album 4:44 features a song called “Adnis,” and based on the short snippet, he will be delving deeper into the aftermath of his strained paternal relationship—a topic that’s likely been weighing on his subconscious even more these days after the birth of a set of twins just this month. He raps: “Letter to my dad that I never wrote/Speeches I prepared that I never spoke/Words on a paper that I never read/Proses never penned/They stayed in my head.” When 4:44 drops, we may witness the deepest look into Jay’s psyche yet.
Ahead of the album's release this Friday, this is a history of the times in Jay Z’s discography that he's detailed his relationship with—and directly addressed—his father.