Jay Z appears to have finally responded to what was widely perceived as his infidelity in his marriage to Beyoncé on his new album 4:44. On the album's title track "4:44," he even explicitly says "I apologize."
Released at midnight on his streaming music service TIDAL just two weeks after the pair welcomed twins, Jay Z also uses 4:44 to reflect on his accomplishments and experiences as a black man in America. The release marks the "semi-retired" rapper's return to form nearly four years after the mogul dropped Magna Carta Holy Grail.
"Kill Jay Z," the first song on the rapper's highly anticipated 13th studio album, references the widely circulated video of his sister-in-law Solange attacking him in an elevator at the Met Gala after party at the Standard Hotel in New York City in May 2014.
"You egged Solange on, knowin' all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away / I didn't even know what else to say. Never go Eric Benét / I don't even know what you woulda done, in the future, other [sic] playing football with your son," he raps.
On"4:44" Jay Z apologizes to Beyoncé for a number of injustices, even appearing to allude to his alleged cheating, a prominent theme of Beyoncé's critically acclaimed album Lemonade.
"Look, I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman's eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song / I don't deserve you, I harass you out in Paris / Please come back to Rome, you make it home / We talked for hours when you were on tour / Please pick up the phone, pick up the phone / Said: "Don't embarrass me," instead of "Be mine" / That was my proposal for us to go steady / That was your 21st birthday, you mature faster than me / I wasn't ready, so I apologize / I've seen the innocence leave your eyes / I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns."
(The pop star has been vocal about a miscarriage.) He continues:
"And if my children knew, I don't even know what I would do / If they ain't look at me the same, I would prolly die with all the shame / You did what with who? What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate, you risked that for Blue?" he says.
Just like the mogul appeared in Beyoncé's "All Night" video during the redemptive portion of Lemonade, Beyoncé's background vocals appear on the song "Family Feud," which lists her as a co-writer.
"My wife in the crib feeding my kids liquid gold, we in a whole different mode," Jay raps, before directly referencing "Becky with the good hair." On the Lemonade better-off-without-him anthem "Sorry," Becky is presented as a woman with whom Jay cheated.
“I’ll [sic] up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky! / A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich / I watched Godfather, I missed that whole [sic]," he raps.
It's still unclear whether Beyonce's Lemonade album was an autobiographical tale of survival in the wake of infidelity or an elaborate fictional story about betrayal. Whatever the inspiration, the Beyhive — the pop star's dedicated fanbase — and the media dedicated much energy to finding "Becky."
Jay Z later gets topical, touching on the Moonlight-La La Land snafu at the Oscars. In addition to his wife, the album also features vocals from guests artists like Kim Burrell, Damien Marley and Frank Ocean.
You can stream 4:44 at TIDAL.