Jay-Z has been very busy with his new album 4:44 being released and becoming platinum in just under a week. The rapper’s 13th album has been on everybody’s mind as he has been more open in his lyrics than ever before.
It alludes to pretty much everything that Jay-Z has been criticized for in the media and music and he also raps about the cheating claims that Beyoncé hinted at in Lemonade which she released last year.
“Look I apologise, often womanize / took for my own child to be born / see through a woman’s eyes.”
“And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do / if they ain’t look at the same / I would prob’ly die with all the shame”. (4:44).
He even references the infamous elevator argument he had with Solange which showed fractures in the couple’s notoriously private life.
“You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / you almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away…” (Kill Jay-Z)
But the Grammy award winning performer has also used his platform to highlight the issues of race in America.
It is presumed that Jay-Z took inspiration from ESPN’s documentary OJ: Made in America which was released last year for this track. One particular quote stated by OJ inspired Jay to make a song about the pressures of being black. At the time, OJ commented that he is “not black, I’m OJ” when interviewed about the racial tensions in the USA.
Jay used this to rap about being black and how your identity is not erased in the eyes of white people even if you’re famous.
The Story of OJ video relays this message by animating Jay-Z in the style of a cartoon character.
However, this cartoon demonstrates the discrimination of black people that were displayed back in the early to mid-20th century.
Cartoon Jay uses America’s racist history by sitting on a ‘coloured’ bus, cotton picking and eating watermelon. Josephine Baker and Nina Simone also cameo as cartoons and Simone’s ‘Four Women’ song is sampled in the song.
Watch the video (contains explicit language):
It is a stark reminder of just how discrimination has ruled black people’s lives and how it still is prevalent today.
It shows how these attitudes can still affect a person’s life even if they are an ‘A list billionaire’ likeJay-ZZ. These powerful messages are important to show the next generation how to do things differently and love more.
It is an influential album and showcases Jay’s vulnerability on another level which has resonated with fans.
What do you think of Jay Z’s new video? Let us know @CelebMix!