When Beyoncé used her incredible album Lemonade to chronicle how a protagonist got through infidelity from her husband, many wondered if Jay-Z would respond on wax. Not only did Jay do just that on 4:44, but he did so on one of the most vulnerable songs of his career.
On the title track to 4:44, Jay-Z apologizes to Beyoncé for his transgressions. With a nervous, vulnerable flow, he digs into everything: he admits to being a womanizer in the first line of the song, and apologizes for squandering his relationship. He even blames himself for Beyonce's miscarriage, lamenting, "'cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it." He then imagines what the consequences could have been: losing the love of his life, either by being completely alone or remaining married by sleeping with their backs turned, and being unable to look at his children.
Along with apologizing for disrespecting Beyonce herself, Jay also takes accountability for how he has treated other women he dated before her. "I apologize to all the women whom I toyed with your emotions because I was emotionless," he rhymes. "I apologize 'cause at your best, you are love."
The key to this new, enlightened Jay-Z? The birth of his children. "Took for my child to be born to see through a woman's eyes," he raps. "Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles."
In audio with iHeartRadio, Jay-Z said that he woke up and wrote the song at 4:44 in the morning. Jay-Z and Beyoncé fans know the number four means a lot: Jay was born on December 4, Beyonce was born on September 4, they have matching "IV" tattoos, and Blue Ivy's name has the roman numeral four (IV = Ivy).
Jay-Z's 4:44 is his most thoughtful album yet, and there's a lot to unpack. Stay tuned for more coverage.