Jay Z's focus has been on things much bigger than music over the last few years. Sure, he has popped up with a number of notable feature verses since 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail—his feature on Rick Ross' "The Devil Is a Lie" is a highlight—but as far as solo work goes, Jay has been dormant.
And who could blame him? The legendary rapper recently became a father of three, was the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and continues to try to shake up the business world. When you're in the middle of solidifying a sports agency and trying to build an artist-centric streaming platform, you don't have as much time to drop new albums. The drought appears to be over, however, after it was finally revealed on Sunday night that 4:44, Jay's mysterious new project, would be a full-fledged album.
4:44 started out as as a weird, unexplained ad campaign, with a series of flesh-colored ads popping up in early June. Eventually, the connection was made to Jay, and before we knew it would be an album, a release date was revealed by HipHopDX, marking down a release date of June 30.
Tidal says 4:44 is the first in a line of exclusives that will be available to Sprint users, after the carrier purchased 33 percent of the streaming service for $200 million earlier this year. Sprint users can get a free six-month trial of Tidal HiFi and listen to the album for free. “Jay Z is a global icon and we’re giving customers an incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.
Tidal has been teasing 4:44 with billboards and videos on YouTube featuring actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danny Glover for the past few weeks, hinting that the album may have an extensive visual component.
This will be Jay Z’s first album since Magna Carta Holy Grail was released back in 2013. Jay Z has reportedly been working with producers including Swizz Beatz and Zaytoven over the past year, but there is no indication of what we’ll hear on the album.