Jay-Z released his 13th studio album, 4:44, two weeks ago. One week after its exclusive Tidal release, Jay Z's 4:44 debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100. In addition to moving 262,000 equivalent album units with 174,000 of which coming from traditional album sales, 4:44 had the fourth-largest week this year, behind Kendrick Lamar's Damn (603,000 units), Drake's More Life (505,000) and Ed Sheeran's Divide (451,000). Of those 174,000 in sales, 131,000 came as a download while 43,000 were from CDs.
Writer and video artist, Akwaeke Emezi makes an appearance in the video
The title track, “4:44” is an open love letter and apology letter to his wife, Beyoncé. In the song, he raps about being a bad husband and being unfaithful to her over a sample of Hannah Williams' Late Nights and Heartbreak – another song about infidelity. The track, which is 4 minutes and 44 seconds, referencing the album and song title, also features vocals from Kim Burrell.
In a conversation with iHeart Radio about the song, Jay-Z said:
‘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."
“4:44” is the second video off the album, following the animated black-and-white clip for “The Story of O.J.”. It opens with a boy singing Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” which was also sampled on Watch the Throne’s “New Day.”, and also features a mix of interviews and phone-filmed clips that depict various emotions. In between news bits and dance scenes, we see footage of Eartha Kitt, Lauryn Hill, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Beyoncé and Jay-Z also appear in the video (in concert footage) performing “Drunk in Love”.
Footage of Blue Ivy smiling that was used in the video of "Blue" pops up at the end and leaves the video with an endearing end.
Watch "4:44" here: