4:44

4:44

by Jay-Z

CD

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Overview

Jay-Z's June 2017 was momentous. The 44th president of the United States inducted him as the first rap lyricist into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Beyoncé Knowles-Shawn Carter family added fourth and fifth members. Going by a jocular shot at specific Al Sharpton social media activity within, there was also the completion of 4:44, delivered on the last of the month. Approach-wise, the 13th Jay-Z studio album is a change of course for its employment of only one beatmaker, No I.D., whose previous Jay-Z credits across a decade plus -- a comparatively flashy crop that includes a major portion of The Blueprint 3 -- amount to an album's worth of tracks, primarily as co-producer. Even more noteworthy is its chronological distinction as a follow-up to Beyoncé's Lemonade, a cathartic album prompted in part by Jay-Z's extramarital behavior. This somehow makes album 12 seem older than its true age. From any other artist, 36 minutes of repentance, self-satisfaction, and wisdom regarding issues such as faithfulness, vast wealth, ethical consumption, and the deficiencies of a younger rap generation would likely fall flat, but Jay-Z continues to write at a Hall of Fame level and raps with high levels of conviction, contrition, and wit. He and No I.D. are consistently attuned. The whole album has a fine matte-like finish with nuanced rhythms and soul, funk, reggae, and prog samples that frequently enhance the tracks on an emotional level, not just a sonic one. Even the Frank Ocean and Beyoncé appearances sound sourced from a crate. Filled with references to profit and forms of pride granted by birth and earned by hustling, 4:44 nonetheless is an unglamorous set well suited for solitary and reflective late-night listening. There are no radio play bids. Jay-Z has been in this mode at various points, but never in such concentrated, enlightened form, whether the subject is his mistakes as a husband, the struggles of his long-closeted lesbian mother, the effects of enduring systemic racism, or the assertion of his supremacy. [The physical CD release of 4:44 featured three bonus tracks.]

Product Details

Release Date: 07/07/2017
Label: Roc Nation
UPC: 0854242007583
catalogNumber: 002718402
Rank: 8019

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jay-Z   Primary Artist
Kim Burrell   Vocals
James Fauntleroy   Vocals
The-Dream   Vocals
Crystal Torres   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Steve Wyreman   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Celeste,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,CS-80
Kenneth Whalum   Tenor Saxophone
Nate Mercereau   Guitar,Piano,Celeste,French Horn,Moog Synthesizer
James Blake   Piano
Ron Gilmore   Vocoder
Jonah Levine   Trombone
Blue Ivy Carter   Vocals

Technical Credits

Nina Simone   Composer
Donny Hathaway   Composer
Randy Newman   Composer
Jacob Miller   Composer
Jerry Peters   Composer
Gene Redd   Composer
Salaam Remi   Composer
Sylvia Robinson   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Eric Woolfson   Composer
Allen McGrier   Composer
Winston Riley   Composer
Damian "Junior Gong" Marley   Composer
Jay-Z   Producer
Alan Parsons   Composer
Wyclef Jean   Composer
Lauryn Hill   Composer
Deborah Mannis-Gardner   Sample Clearance
Anita Poree   Composer
Sonia Bazanta   Composer
Shawn Carter   Composer,Executive Producer
Beyoncé Knowles   Composer
Michael Burton   Composer
Brian Roettinger   Art Direction
Elbernita Clark   Composer
Tózé Brito   Composer
Jose Cid   Composer
James Fauntleroy   Vocal Producer
Mike Miller   Vocal Engineer
Roger Lewis   Composer
Stuart White   Vocal Engineer
Dion Wilson   Composer
Edward Howard   Composer
Ophlin N. Russell   Composer
Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton   Engineer
Nate Mercereau   Arp String Ensemble
James Blake   Composer,Producer
Pras Michel   Composer
Dominic Maker   Composer,Producer
Terius Nash   Composer
Jimmy Crosby   Composer
No Id   Producer,Executive Producer,Additional Production
Christopher Breaux   Composer
Michael Law Thomas   Engineer
Mary Christine Brockert   Composer
Kanan Keeny   Composer

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