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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Fat laces in your shoe I’m talkin’ bustin’ off the roof
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.
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.
You think he wanted the masters with his masters?
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.
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.
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.
“You risked that for Blue?”
Is this Jay admitting that he cheated on Beyoncé? Or is he speaking hypothetically? We’ll never know.
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.