4:44 was great but will rap let it do what it’s supposed to do?
The rap god that is Jay-Z just dropped his 13th studio album 4:44. While the album has garnered great reviews and shows to be one of his most personal bodies of work to date, one thing about this album sticks out to me… it won’t be received the way it should. 4:44 is believed to be medicine for the black community. The solution to our problems. A self-help book to the black community. Jay touches on subjects such as financial stability, family structure and coming to terms with past faults. In true 2017 fashion, there have been lots of quotes floating around from the album on Instagram, multiple screenshots of people listening to the album and tweets filled with praises for the album. Another thing I noticed is not much has changed since Jay dropped his infamous line “y’all on the gram holding money to your ear there’s a disconnect we don’t call that money over here”. I still saw ball players, trappers, and rap artist flashing money on Instagram screens. I also doubt there will be a major decline in jewelry purchasing or flashing on Instagram either. Which leads me to my point, will Jay-Z’s 4:44 do what it’s supposed to do? 4:44 wasn’t for the average music listener, 4:44 was for the rappers, trappers, and ball players. Remember a few weeks back when Jay went on his long Twitter rant thanking all the artist that inspired him? They inspired him to make this album, they inspired him to make a piece of work that would wake them (the rapper) up. Jay thinking that if he woke the rappers up, the rappers would in turn wake the consumer up. It is often said that if rappers showed themselves to be more responsible as people, the consumer and community would follow shortly thereafter. I believe this was Jay’s attempt and success at stirring the pot and starting the conversation. 4:44is different from other albums with conscious subject matter in 2017 because Jay is the only veteran rapper that other rappers will take advice and guidance from. Where Kendrick’s DAMN. spoke to the black person’s plight, Jay’s 4:44 speaks to the black man’s plight–he inspires all, but his aim was to inspire the black man to think. He gets retrospective on tracks like “The Story Of OJ” spitting lines like “ I bought every V12 engine, wish I could take it back to the beginning”. He shows regret for past money misuse. The common rap consumer can’t buy every Benz with a V12 engine, but a rapper can. I believe 4:44 was aimed to make anyone climbing the ladder of success (no matter what business they are into) think. Think about your family. Think about your community. Think about your money–and most importantly think about your influence, but will it be received that way? Will we see rapper turn the tide? Will we see less money phone pictures? Will we see less ice and more knowledge? Will we allow 4:44 to be the solution to our problem in 2017? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.