Jay-Z’s next album, 4:44, is already out, and there’s been immediate speculation about his songs — what certain lines mean, whether they reference infamous lines in Lemonade, what they say about the state of Jay-Z’s life these days. It’s a natural reaction to an album from a man who is as elusive as his wife about his personal life, despite the wild rumors about him.
If ever there was a time to comment in a rap, even subtly, about the harmful rumors that have gone around since Lemonade dropped, 4:44 would be the place to do it. While Jay-Z may be confirming the cheating rumors, he’s not doing it outright — although that hasn’t made a lick of difference to fans whose minds are blown by the revelation.
Fans got their first hints about what each song means when Jay-Z took the time to give summaries of them. Each song feels deeply personal, as if he is in conflict with his inflated ego and his real self. He also appears to be rapping about his family life and the rap community as a whole. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the song dedicated to the La La Land and Moonlight Oscars situation — interesting, but very unusual for Jay-Z.
— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) June 30, 2017
The breakdowns of these songs merely open the door to deeper analysis. Refinery29 was quick to take note of fans who were seriously shocked that Jay-Z was all but confirming that he cheated on Beyoncé by referencing one of her most famous Lemonade lyrics.
On Beyoncé’s “Sorry,” she makes a reference to “Becky with the good hair,” which fans believe is the woman Jay-Z was with outside of his marriage. On Jay-Z’s song “Family Feud,” one line goes, “Let me alone, Becky,” which feels like a reference to the “Sorry” lyrics. It could be a throwaway line; then again, for Jay-Z to use that specific name in one of his own songs feels pretty damn significant.
On “Kill Jay-Z,” he includes a comment about that infamous elevator fight with sister-in-law Solange Knowles on the song while reminding himself not to go “Eric Benét.” He raps, “You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away.” Eric Benét is Halle Berry’s ex-husband, who famously cheated on her (the couple was considered very much in love and a strong unit at the time the rumors surfaced, for what it’s worth).
Jay Z and Beyonce could be at world war and we wouldnt know until they release a track about it a year later. Real G's move in silence
— Lost Hills (@HitanshuPandit) June 30, 2017
Is 4:44 a response to Lemonade? Is Jay-Z acknowledging the rumors or confirming them? Is Jay-Z perhaps apologizing for his actions, whatever they may be? Is this real life? Guys, I have so many questions.