June 30, 2017

Jay-Z "4:44" (Thoughts)

Finally, an album closer to what I've been wanting to hear from Jay-Z. Grown rap that I can learn and relate to, because - unfortunately - for so long I felt like Hustler Hov was just flashing shine and creating more distance and being more off-putting with each release. This is a nice return to a golden era sound and delivery, more heavily lent to the messages in the music. Props to No I.D. on the production and Jay on many of the sample choices (I'm told). A thought that runs through my head: now that it's here, if the fans don't reward the effort - if the accolades don't come - do we risk admitting that there's no room for this quality of music/messaging in mainstream rap? Is that a harsh reality we'll have to face? Just like White America learned the night of the election; it had to face itself and see the choices the majority had made. Will fans ultimately decide for the fast food rap instead? I'm curious, but, for now, just appreciating a quality album released in the mainstream, that somehow feels like it went against the grain, lol. He's certainly not the only artist to do it, but for a legacy artist of his stature and success, it was clearly an album he felt he needed to make, and certainly one fans needed to hear. At the time of this post, the album was only available on Tidal, but I'm updating it to include the Spotify audio below, because I do not have Tidal, lol. Enjoy!