Forty-seven-year-old rapper, Jay-Z has defined all the odds of hip hop. Not only has the father of newly born twins married undeniably one of the sexiest women in the world, he sold out arenas, created numerous successful business ventures and survived one of the most tumultuous rap beefs of all time.
Whether his new album, 4:44 is deemed a classic or not, here are five reasons it’s a moment for the culture.
1. What’s Beef?
Often overlooked by many millennials, the East Coast vs. West Coast battle was a rough time for hip hop, and sadly we lost some of the greatest MC’s to ever spit during the time. This all transpired during the release of Jay-Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt. He was also able to bounce back after his high publicized beef with Queens born rapper Nas, although many believed Jay-Z lost to Nas coining the term, “He Ether’d you.” Years later, the two made amends, and proved that you can age properly in the rap game.
2. Don’t Ever Play Yourself
Unlike many rappers today, Jay-Z has been able to maneuver the game without getting caught up in it. It’s remarkable that he wasn’t known for having a slew of baby mother’s, but rather for marrying hands down one of the most talented women in entertainment. He also maintained his cool through the personal and business downfall of his relationship with Dame Dash, and strategically split with longtime Roc Nation business partner John Meneilly.
3. The Evolution
It’s hard enough to make three successful albums, let alone 11, all of which have chart topping hits. Surpassing Elvis in top hit records back in 2009, Jay-Z’s release of 12th album, 4:44 is guaranteed to follow this trend of his legendary albums, filled with provoking lyrics, rhythmic beats, and aspirational metaphors. Jay-Z’s 21- year-rapper-and-wordsmith career has been one to admire, from former drug dealer to business mogul. He is a living example that no matter where you come from or what life throws your way, you control who you want to be.
4. Your Age Doesn’t Define You
As fellow rapper Fabolous stated in his song “Young OG,” “The saddest stories comes from those who once had the glory. Had the foreigns, diamond watches and the baddest shorties, now they in their latter 40s, bunch of kids, scatted shorties.” This is an all-too familiar tale for many of the rappers that got their starts in the early 90’s. Jay-Z has been able to maintain his relevance, while remaining true to his trademark flow and legendary storytelling. Nearing 50 and appealing to millennials, some old enough to be your children, while still maintaining your core following, is a pretty remarkable gain for the legendary wordsmith.
5. Dad Life
Jay-Z, now father of three, has restored and changed the perception of what it means to be a dad. He’s breaking down the stereotype that men of color aren’t involved in their children’s lives, and redefining what it means and how it looks to be a father of color. Jay-Z, DJ Khaled, Byrson Tiller, Chance The Rapper and several other rappers this brand new image. You can still be cool fun, young and most importantly get fits off after becoming a father, all of which is very much needed after the Bill Cosby fiasco.