US rapper Jay-Z may have, in his new 10-track album, 4:44, addressed the rumours of infidelity that circulated his marriage to Beyoncé, last year – when she released her visual album, Lemonade.
Apparently, it means, if Lemonade was the accusation album, 4:44 is the apology.
In Lemonade, Beyoncé had aired details of her husband’s rumoured infidelity (with a woman referenced only as “Becky with the good hair”).
Following the footage that emerged of Beyoncé’s musician sister Solange Knowles attacking Jay-Z in a lift – interpreted by many to be over issues of infidelity – Beyoncé sang: “Of course sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”
However, in his new 10-track album, 4:44, which he dropped on Tidal on Thursday night, Hov appears to shed new light on the allegations.
On “Kill JAY-Z” he appears to reference the infamous altercation in a lift with Beyonce’s sister Solange after the 2014 Met Gala.
“You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away … I don’t even know what you woulda done, in the future, other niggas playing football with your son,” he said, addressing himself as (Eric Benet).
The Eric Benet reference pertains to the R&B singer and actor who was unfaithful to Halle Berry.
In the title song – which Jay-Z previously said is the “crux of the album” and “one of the best songs I’ve ever written”, in an interview with iHeartRadio – lyrics include:
“I apologise often womanise / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song / I don’t deserve you.”
The track has been taken by fans and critics alike to refer to the rapper’s guilt about being unfaithful to Beyoncé, referencing the couple’s children – five-year-old Blue Ivy, and the recent as-yet-unconfirmed arrival of twins.
“And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do / If they ain’t look at me the same, I would probably die with all the shame,” he goes on to say in “4:44”.
In another deeply personal moment on his album, Jay-Z references his regrets that the couple – who married in 2008 – have suffered several miscarriages.
“I still mourn this death / I apologise for all the stillborns / ‘Cause I wasn’t present your body wouldn’t accept it.”
One of the most prominent lyrics is on JAY-Z’s “Family Feud” where he addresses the notorious ‘Becky’, who was checked on Beyonce’s track “Sorry”.
“Sorry” lyric: “He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.”
“Family Feud”: “Yeah, I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone Becky!”
The new album, which features Frank Ocean and Damian Marley, also sees him address Kanye West’s turbulent temperament at the end of 2016.
Recall, Kanye had, on stage in Sacramento, said:
“Beyoncé, I was hurt cause I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me, and over “Hotline Bling” and “Jay Z, call me bra. You still ain’t call me. Jay Z, call me. Ayy brah, Jay Z I know you got killas, please don’t send ‘em at my head, just call me. Talk to me like a man.”
Jay-Z’s response comes early on in the first track on the album, he says:
“You walking around like you invincible/You dropped out of school, you lost your principles/I know people backstabbed you, I felt bad too/But this ‘fuck everybody’ attitude ain’t natural/But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe/But you got hurt because you think KumbaYe/You gave him 20 million without thinkin’/He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’?/’Fuck wrong with everybody?’ is what you sayin’/But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”
It is obvious Hov was genuinely insulted/hurt by Kanye’s words, which he hasn’t publicly apologised for.
Jay-Z was seemingly talking about the rapper who once called him a big brother but more recently pleaded in a concert for him (Hov) not to put a hit out on him.
The 4:44 tracklist is as follows:
01 Kill Jay Z
02 The Story of O.J.
03 Smile [ft. Gloria Carter]
04 Caught Their Eyes [ft. Frank Ocean]
06 Family Feud
07 Bam [ft. Damian Marley]
09 Marcy Me