Okay… ya’ll I’m a huge Jay Z fan and I’ve been waiting many many many moons (Four years to be exact) for a new Jay Z album. So I waited patiently for Hov’s genius to be put on display yet again. I sat through years of mumble rap and being uncool because I couldn’t do the Dougie or the Running Man (and I still cant do any of that)
However I was never expecting Jay’Z’s 4:44 album to go to the areas that it did. I listened to the album twice since its release (thank God it only has ten tracks) and with each listen I learned/heard something different. It is absolutely his most vulnerable and political album to date.
Jay Z’s 13th studio album “4:44” is not a radio banger by any means. There wasn’t anyone song I heard on there that I thought this will be a Billboard smash. And that’s okay. I don’t think it was ever supposed to be… and I’m more than okay with that. In a day and age when we glorify mumble rap I was ecstatic to listen to an album from start to finish that made me think and that I could actually understand.
But… before I get all preachy and fanatic we’re just going to go straight into the 5 things Jay Z’s 4:44 album taught us.
5 Things Jay Z’s 4:44 Album Taught Us
1. Get Your
FUCKING credit together: I don’t know how many times I’ve told ya’ll about your credit but when I heard Jay Z speak about it I secretly hoped and prayed that this would become popular and trendy. From the age of 18 I knew that my credit score in America would make all the difference in me buying my own home/car vs. renting an apartment and leasing. Through several posts and conversations with friends it seems that we as a collective didn’t realize the importance of credit until it was too late.
Generational wealth, that’s the key / My parents ain’t have s–t, so that ship started with me / My mom took her money, she bought me bonds / That was the sweetest thing of all time.
“The Story Of Oj” takes a stab at trying to help us listeners understand the importance of financial freedom. It exemplifies that importance of having a plan, sticking to it, and executing.
“Financial freedom my only hope. F–k livin’ rich and dyin’ broke. I bought some artwork for 1 million, two years later, that s–t worth 2 million. Few years later, that s–t worth 8 million. I can’t wait to give this s–t to my children. Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine. But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99.
2. Take A Chance: I’m always down for taking chances … educated chances. Chances that have been calculated and lead to greater reward. Jay Z seconds that idea. Instead of borrowing, and buying on credit HOV tells us to take REAL chances. The kind that will leave something greater behind for those to follow in our footsteps, and those that laid the foundation ahead of us.
Stunting always has and always been a game for the lame. Are we all guilty of it… absolutely. But there comes a certain time and age when you need to know… or better yet learn that you do not need to put any and everything on social media. (Another thing I been telling ya’ll for years). Leave the stunting if we must for the kids going to prom. Let’s stop taking pics on Instagram and Facebook with money to our ears, middle fingers up, and close ups of your Jordans and Gucci Belts. There’s more important things to be discussed and photographed.
Y’all out here still takin’ advances, huh? / Me and my n—as takin’ real chances, uh / Y’all on the Gram holdin’ money to your ear / There’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here, yeah.”
3. Apologize When You Mess Up: I know we were all waiting patiently for this… even though I honestly 100% believe that this isn’t the highlight or main thematic focus of the album. I know however, it must be addressed. Jay Z allegedly (because I still don’t really know these people’s business ya’ll) cheated on his wife. In several tracks… but most specifically in the title track “4:44” he addresses is digressions and then goes on to apologize for them.
You egged Solange on knowin’ all along / All you had to say, you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benét / Let the baddest girl in the world get away” (-Kill Jay Z)
As we grow older we realize that we all
fuck up… we all do it. But we also tend to place the blame on others more often than not. Therefore causing apologies to lack authenticity. Jay Z not only shows us that there is no shame in apologizing when you mess up, he shows us that you must mean it. You must 100% truly be apologetic for your errors. That doesn’t mean saying you’re sorry and going on to repeat the same mistake. Because at the point really… it’s a choice.
Jay Z goes on to confirm throughout several songs that he made his mistake, and he learned from it. The lessons made him better, stronger and smarter. So when you mess up… before you apologize learn what it is that brought you to where your are. And think about where it is that you want to end up.
I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes.
4. Family first: As if this is something we didn’t know (and if you don’t know… now you know… sorry I couldn’t help myself) family comes first PERIOD. May people’s definition of family vary because of their situations within their households. It is very clear that however you define it, whomever you consider to be your family must come first in the grander scheme of things. Your family is the final key in the progression and succession of your story. No matter the route you take, you won’t reach your peak without your family.
Through several albums Jay Z has released in the past (Shit… it might even be all of them) Jay Z has toyed around with the idea of family on various levels. His love for his mother has always transcended, his love for his wife & daughter are always apparent, and even his estranged relationship with Damon Dash is always shown respect for what it was. No matter what beat, or what tone Jay Z is taking in his records, he never wavers from the idea that his family must always come first at the end of the day. And if you too haven’t learned that… then you aren’t through learning just yet.
Yeah, I’ll f— up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky / A man that don’t take care of his family can’t be rich / I’ll watch ‘Godfather,’ I missed that whole shit (-Family Feud)
5. Support Black Business: I’m going to say this one a little louder for the people in the back! Support Black Owned Business!!! You won’t find the “4:44” leak here. Why? Because… yes like many of you I find other means of getting my hands on films and albums. And like many of you… I have hated the idea of actually getting a subscription to Tidal. (and I still haven’t… shrugs) However… in the grander scheme of things I’ve always known the importance of supporting people in business who look just like me.
It is not my place to ever knock anyone’s hustle… but it is absolutely my place to support black people to the end of time. Because if I don’t then who will? Jay Z makes several valid points about us as a community being so quick to support others that don’t look like us. We get focused more on judgement and lose sight in the fact that we should be moving as a collective unit. I make it a point to buy from black business (not all the time… but I do my best) because I know that solely spending my coins in Forever 21 and Zara isn’t doing anything for the people that truly represent who I am as a person. So while I may not have Tidal (sorry Hov) I purchase albums from black artists, buy concert tickets to see black artists, support music festivals created by black artists, blog about independent black owned business constantly … and still I feel like I’m not doing enough.
But the real question is … what are you doing?
What’s better than one billionaire? Two. ‘Specially if they’re from the same hue as you
Share your thoughts… good or bad (hopefully good) on the “4:44” album below! Would love to open up a line of conversation!
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.