Here’s the Breakdown of JAY-Z’s ‘4:44’ Tracklist & Song Meanings

JAY-Z didn’t want HOV fans to get any sleep. At midnight, the multihyphenate unveiled his brand new full-length album 4:44, a project that has been teased by Tidal and his peers as of late. The rapper hasn’t dropped a full-length project since the 2013 release of Magna Carta Holy Grail. This release was a real treat for those who have felt a thirst for new music that was a collective body of work – as opposed to just a feature.

The 10-track Sprint/Tidal exclusive has been the talking point of the day – even taking up eight spots on Twitter’s trending topics in the early hours of the morning. There have been many discussions about the album’s lyrical content, with a lot of listeners praising the artist for creating a hip hop album told from the perspective of a grown man. He drops a lot of gems, but a lot of the stand out lyrics have been subliminals thrown at Kanye West, Eric Benet, and at himself – as the rapper gets vocal and real about past infidelities, validating a lot of speculation surrounding the lyrical content of Beyoncé’s critically acclaimed Lemonade album.


Speculation aside, Jay gave iHeartRadio an exclusive when he and Roc Nation partnered with iHeartMedia for a historic launch of the album. Today (June 30), fans will have the opportunity to listen and experience his 4:44 the way he envisioned through iHeartRadio’s The Beat.

While listening to the No I.D.-produced album from start to finish on repeat (all day long if you want to), The Beat listeners will be able to learn the meaning of each song as they listen via this exclusive commentary. 4:44 will be played on all of iHeartMedia’s 160+ radio stations, and will continue to be available on iHeartMedia’s Urban and Rhythm stations throughout July 1 12:01 a.m. EST.

Per iHeart.com, peep the meaning behind the 4:44 tracks below:

“4:44”

“‘4:44’ is a song that I wrote, and it’s the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 AM, to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”

“Bam”

“The song ‘Bam’ with Damian Marley, it’s just jammin’, it’s just like the song. But it’s secretly Shawn Carter saying, ‘Man, you need a bit of ego.’ It was because of me and the things that I’ve done, this is JAY-Z saying you needed a bit of ego for us to arrive at this point.”

“Caught The Eye”

“‘Caught The Eye’ is a song that’s dealing with just being aware of your surroundings. There’s a line in it, and it says, ‘Your body language is all remedial, how could you see the difference between you and I?’ Just being so sharp about your surroundings.”

“Family Feud”

“‘Family Feud’ is about separation within the culture. Like, new rappers fighting with old rappers, saying all these things. So, the line is, ‘Nobody wins when the family feuds.'”

“Kill JAY-Z”

“The first song is called ‘Kill JAY-Z’ and obviously, it’s not to be taken literal. It’s really about the ego. It’s about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty.”

“Legacy”

“The song is just about what it is, it’s like a verbal will. Just a song about speaking to my daughter. She starts the song off, and she says ‘Daddy, what’s a will?'”

“Marcy Me”

“‘Marcy Me’ is a nostalgic walk through Marcy, and it’s about that hopefulness, that feeling of ‘Man, can I really do this? Can I really be one of the biggest artists in the world?’ You have these dreams, ‘Can I be one of the biggest basketball players?’ We have these dreams.”

“Moonlight”

“The hook is ‘We stuck in La La Land/Even if we win, we gonna lose.’ It’s like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”

“Smile”

“‘Smile’ is just what it is. There are gonna be bad times, and those bad times can do two things: they can get you in a place where you’re stuck in a rut, or it can make your future that much better because you’ve experienced these things.”

“The Story of OJ”

“‘The Story of OJ’ is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”

June 30 is going to go down in history as a truly important day, but so will 4:44. Hov did that.

Photo Credit: Tidal

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.