Jay-Z is turning lemons into Lemonade with his 13th studio album.
4:44, released exclusively on TIDAL in partnership with Sprint, features 10 original recordings, many of which were seemingly written in response to his wife Beyoncé's deeply personal visual album. The trailer for the album featured cameos from Oscar-winning actors Mahershala Ali, Danny Glover and Lupita Nyong'o, and the album itself features tracks with Beyoncé (who is also a co-writer), Frank Ocean and Damian Marley—as well as the rapper's mom, Gloria Carter. iHeartRadio's The Beat shared exclusive audio of Jay-Z explaining the meaning behind his lyrics.
1. "Kill Jay-Z"
Jay-Z referenced his famous elevator fight with sister-in-law Solange Knowles after the 2014 Met Gala. "You egged Solange on / Knowin' all along /All you had to say you was wrong," he rapped. The altercation, which was widely rumored to have been about fashion designer Rachel Roy, led Jay-Z to a realization: "But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue / You had no father, you had the armor / But you got a daughter, gotta get softer." Seemingly confirming that he did indeed cheat on his wife, he also name dropped Eric Benét, who split from Halle Berry in 2003 amid rumors of infidelity. "You almost went Eric Benét / Let the baddest girl in the world get away," he rapped, later reminding fans, "Never go Eric Benét." The song is "not to be taken literal," the 47-year-old rapper told iHeartRadio. "It's really about the ego. It's about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty."
Jay-Z even calls out his frenemy Kanye West, rapping, "I know people backstab you, I feel bad too / But this 'f--k everybody' attitude ain't natural / But you ain't the same, this ain't KumbaYe / 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'?/ 'F--kin' wrong with everybody?' is what you sayin' / But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane."