Jay-Z dropped his highly anticipated 13th album, 4:44 on Friday and the Internet is already deeming it an instant classic. This time around, we get to hear a different Hov than we’ve heard before — in other words, he’s talking that major cloth talk.
One thing that stands out about this album is how personal the the private rapper got about his finances, his marriage and even on topics like race and generational wealth. Check out a few of our favorite lines that gave us a deeper look into the life of Shawn Carter.
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Gem: Jay addressed his alleged beef with Kanye West on the song “Kill Jay-Z,” pointing out how he had to front Ye’ $20 million to keep him at Tidal — and Kanye repaid Hov with his 2016 rant during the Saint Pablo Tour. Deep!
Lyric: “But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye / You gave him 20 million without blinkin’ / He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f*** was he thinkin’?”
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Gem: In the song, “Smile,” Jay reveals that although his mother had four kids, she was secretly a lesbian who was afraid to come out due to the intense levels of homophobia in society, especially in the 70’s when Jay was growing up. He joked that she pretended to be heterosexual for so long that she could be considered an actress.
Lyric: “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian”
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Gem: On “Kill Jay-Z,” Hov admits to cheating on Beyoncé by comparing himself to Eric Benét, who was married to one of the most sought after women in the world, Halle Berry, before they split due to his infidelity.
Lyric: “You almost went Eric Benét / Let the baddest girl in the world get away / I don’t even know what else to say / N***a, never go Eric Benét!”
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Gem: On the same track, Jay reflects on his infidelities and takes a dig a Future, whose son started spending a lot of time with stepdad, NFL star Russell Wilson, after the rapper and Ciara split. Hov approached it from the perspective of, “Could’ve been me.”
Lyric: “I don’t even know what you woulda done / In the Future, other niggas playin’ football with your son.”
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Gem: On “The Story of O.J. Simpson,” Jay reminds us that regardless of your financial status, complexion or character — when you’re Black in America, people still see you as a “n***a.”
Lyric: Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga / Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga / Still nigga, still nigga
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Gem: On “4:44,” Jay addresses Beyoncé’s miscarriage (which she spoke about in 2013’s “Life Is But A Dream”) and takes the blame for it, saying that if he was more present in their relationship, then the baby would probably have made it.
Lyric: “I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns / ‘Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it.”
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Gem: Jay speaks on his infidelities again on “4:44,” apologizing to Bey for betraying her trust by letting another woman in on a secret that he didn’t share with his wife.
Lyric: “Never wanted another woman to know / Something about me that you didn’t know”
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Gem: Hov is aware of all the jokes that people make about him being unattractive. In the song, he jokes that he’s so wealthy, his looks don’t even matter. He’s unbothered.
Lyrics: “Ain’t no such thing as an ugly billionaire, I’m cute”