Jay Z dropped his latest album, 4:44, without much fanfare on June 30th. Only those who subscribe to Jay Z’s exclusive streaming platform, Tidal, are able to listen to the record. Despite not much of PR effort and the very exclusive way of hearing the music, 4:44 has gone platinum in less than a week. This is the fastest album to achieve platinum status this year and the first time an album has gone platinum based solely on streaming.
Of course, it’s no surprise that Jay Z has put out a successful record. All of his other studio albums are certified platinum. He regularly cleans up at awards shows and just recently became the first rapper ever inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Then, there’s his personal life. The Obamas call him a friend. He’s married to Queen Bey and is the father to her three children. People are eager for anything he does in part because they are so fascinated with his life. That’s even more the case right now, as everyone waits for truly official news and photos of his new twins, and because of the infidelity rumors sparked by Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Fans looking for dirt weren’t disappointed by the confessional 4:44. The title track, “4:44” seems to fully own up to his bad behavior and serves as an apology. The song also references and mourns over past miscarriages. Another track, “Family Feud,” references Becky, presumably the “Becky with the good hair” from Beyonce’s song “Sorry.”
Jay Z artfully sent shade towards Kanye West in a few songs, especially “Kill JAY-Z.” Right after 4:44 came out, Kanye announced that he wanted out of Tidal. He claims they owe him money but the timing suggests that it’s more about his thin skin. Kanye wasn’t the only one to get shaded by Jay Z. He also takes jabs at Future and Eric Benét.
Kanye obviously didn’t like the album but he wasn’t the only one. 50 Cent had some criticism for Jay Z, calling 4:44 “too smart…like golf course music.” Overwhelmingly, though, fans and critics agree that it’s a great album. The New York Times described it as a record of “extreme emotional-spiritual catharsis” and “extreme stripped-down intimacy.” That’s not how you would typically hear a rap album described and it’s what makes Jay Z such a unique talent.
The album is expected to be available for purchase from all major platforms starting July 7.