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Welcome back, Carter. Smile.

In JAY-Z‘s return to the top of rap’s Mount Rushmore—while chasing a billion dollars— he reaffirms that he hasn’t missed a step. The King of triple entendres unleashed his 13th studio album 4:44 late Thursday night and it’s jammed packed with layered lyrics that’ll take at least a dozen listens to decode.

In the midst of trying to decipher the bars, CASSIUS put together a  list of some of our favorite and most hard-hitting bars.

You egged Solange on

Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong

On the first track of the album, Hov immediately gets into his personal life. He mentions the infamous elevator situation with his sister-in-law Solange, where she hit him. While Jay doesn’t admit that the fight was over infidelity, he does admit that he was wrong.

In the Future, other niggas playin’ football with your son

BARS. Jay touches on the results of cheating and breaking up with the woman of his children. With some word play, he alludes to Future splitting up with Ciara and baby Future‘s relationship with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.

I’mma play the corners where the hustlers be

I told him, “Please don’t die over the neighborhood

That your mama rentin’

The album is a masterclass of how to maneuver in a room full of vultures. Mr. Carter warns those in the ‘hood that dying over the block isn’t worth it. You’d be better off taking that drug money and buying all the property in your neighborhood. Wealth.

Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian

Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian

Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate

He’s rapped about giving all “Glory to Gloria” once before, but Jay gets even more personal on this one. For the first time, he confirms that his mother is a lesbian and recognizes her hiding her sexuality early on in life, getting married, and having kids instead.

Old Brooklyn not this new shit, shift feel like a spoof

Fat laces in your shoe I’m talkin’ bustin’ off the roof

Hold a Uzi vertical, let the thing smoke

Jay may be far removed from the hood but he recognizes the results of gentrification in his native borough of Brooklyn. He basically wants the old sh*t, the Williamsburg before the hipsters took over.

You almost went Eric Benét

Let the baddest girl in the world get away

I don’t even know what else to say

Nigga, never go Eric Benét !

Doubling down on infidelity — one of the biggest themes of the album—Hov spits bars about Eric Benét and the longstanding rumor that he cheating on then-wife Halle Berry in the early aughts.


This guy had ‘Slave’ on his face

You think he wanted the masters with his masters?

You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house

I’m surprised you ain’t auction off the casket

In the early ’90s Prince was involved in a bitter dispute with his label when it came to owning his master records. In these bars, Jay throws shots at Prince’s estate who’s exploiting The Purple One’s legacy by profiting off him after his untimely passing.


Uh, niggas is skippin’ leg day just to run they mouth

I be skippin’ leg day, I still run the world

Like when Kanye said, “You want a boss or a R&B n*gga with a six-pack,” Jay reminds fans that he doesn’t have to work out when he’s already living his best life.

But you ain’t a Saint, this ain’t KumbaYe

But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye

You gave him 20 million without blinkin’

Remember when Kanye hopped on stage and took aim at Beyoncé, Jay, and Drake? Hov recounts giving ‘Ye $20 million to sign to TIDAL, just for him to come at him sideways.

What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soul mate?

“You risked that for Blue?”

Is this Jay admitting that he cheated on Beyoncé? Or is he speaking hypothetically? We’ll never know.

Al Sharpton in the mirror takin’ selfies

How is him or Pill Cosby s’posed to help me?

Jay was definitely working on this album until the last-minute, especially with the hilarious mention of Al Sharpton’s awkward mirror selfie and Bill Cosby’s catastrophe of a trial.