Jay-Z has no shortage of wisdom on "4:44."
While you're busy bumping the new Jay-Z album, why not check out some of the album's most memorable lyrics? Jay drops jewel after jewel, reflecting on subjects like his falling out with Kanye, his infidelity, his beef with the music business, and his family. Here are twenty of 4:44's best lyrics, along with explanations from the Jigga-man himself.
"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." - Jay Z
You walkin' around like you invincible
You dropped outta school, you lost your principles
I know people backstab you, I felt bad too
But this 'fuck everybody' attitude ain't natural
But you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe
But you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
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 in sane
You almost went Eric Benét
Let the baddest girl in the world get away
I don't even know what else to say
Nigga, never go Eric Benét!
The Story Of OJ
"‘The Story of OJ’ 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." - Jay-Z
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like 2 million
That same building today is worth 25 million
Guess how I'm feelin'? Dumbo
Y'all on the 'Gram holdin' money to your ear
There's a disconnect, we don't call that money over here, yeah
"‘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." - Jay-Z
Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian
Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian
Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate
Society shame and the pain was too much to take
My therapist said I relapsed
I said, "Prehaps I Freudian slipped in European whips"
God sent me to break the chain
I'm the true and livin'
God in the flesh, the rest of these niggas is vain
A stain on the white suit, inferior IQ
Niggas'll rip your shit off TIDAL just to spite you
Caught Their Eyes ft. Frank Ocean
"‘Caught The Eye’ 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." - Jay-Z
I sat down with Prince, eye to eye
He told me his wishes before he died
Now, Londell McMillan, he must be color blind
They only see green from them purple eyes
This guy had 'Slave' on his face
You think he wanted the masters with his masters?
You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house
I'm surprised you ain't auction off the casket
4:44 ft. Kim Burnell
"‘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." - Jay-Z
I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns
'Cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it
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 prob'ly die with all the shame
"You did what with who?"
What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?
"You risked that for Blue?"
"‘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.’" - Jay-Z
All this old talk left me confused
You'd rather be old rich me or new you?
And old niggas, y'all stop actin' brand new
Like 2Pac ain't have a nose ring too, huh
What's better than one billionaire? Two.
'Specially if they're from the same hue as you
Bam ft. Damian Marley
"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." - Jay-Z
Y'all be talkin' crazy under them IG pictures
So when you get to Hell you tell 'em blanco sent you
I can't take no threats, I got a set of twins
Those were just the words you'll never hear again
Before we had A&R's, we had AR's too
We the only ones really movin' like y'all say y'all do
We still movin' like y'all niggas say y'all did
Emory passed you niggas and he did a bid
"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." - Jay-Z
Y'all fuck the same fuckin' chicks
I'm in the skrt with ya—yeah, right
I'm the skrt with ya—cool story
I'm on the ch—'nough of this
Look, I know killers, you no killer, huh?
Bathing Ape maybe not a gorilla, huh?
Y'all niggas still signin' deals? Still?
After all they done stole, for real?
After what they done to our Lauryn Hill?
And y'all niggas is 'posed to be trill?
"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." - Jay-Z
Assume a virtue if you have not
Or better yet here's a verse from Hamlet
"Lord, we know who we are
Yeah, we know not what we may be"
So maybe I'm the one or maybe I'm crazy
Streets is my artery, the vein of my existence
I'm the Gotham City heartbeat
I started in lobbies now, probably with Saudis
Sufi to the goofies, I could probably speak Farsi
"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?" - Jay-Z
She might start an institute
She might put poor kids through school
My stake in Roc Nation should go to you
Leave a piece for your siblings to give to their children too
'Cause strangely our division led to multiple religions
I studied Muslim, Buddhist, and Christians
And I was runnin' from him, He was givin' me wisdom
See how the universe works?
It takes my hurt and help me find more of myself
It's a gift and a curse
That's called the red queens race