It’s been four years since Jay Z dropped a new album, and in that time, a lot has changed in the life of the business mogul and hip hop pioneer.
Most recently, of course, Jay and wife Beyonce welcomed twins, but there have been so many other major developments in Jay’s life.
So many things have transpired between 2012 and the present day that it can be hard to keep track of them, in fact.
It’s appropriate that Jay is addressing these matters through his music, as some of his most tabloid-ready drama of the past few years began with some scathing lyrics.
On her groundbreaking album Lemonade, Beyonce accused Jay of cheating on her with the now-infamous “Becky with the good hair.”
On 4:44, Jay appears to address those rumors, comparing his situation to that of Halle Berry’s first husband, Eric Benet.
“You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away,” Jay raps.
He goes on to liken his plight to the breakup between Future and Ciara.
Referencing the fact that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson now seems to be playing a father figure role in the life of Future’s child, he raps:
“I don’t even know what you woulda done/In the future, other n–gas playing football with your son.”
In the same track, Jay addresses his famous elevator fight with Solange Knowles in lyrics that read:
“You egged Solange on,” Jay rhymes, “knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong.”
Speaking of feuds, elsewhere on the album, Mr. Carter vents some frustration with his former protege, who slammed Jay and Beyonce in a mid-concert rant last year.
In one of the most scathing verses on the album, Jay raps:
“I know people backstab you, I feel bad too.”
“But this ‘f–k everybody’ attitude ain’t natural / But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe / But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye.”
“You gave him 20 million without blinkin”
“He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f–k was he thinkin’?/ ‘F–kin’ wrong with everybody?’ is what you sayin’ / But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”
There’s no denying that the last four years of Jay Z’s life have been tumultuous ones, with much of the turbulence created by the rapper himself.
In the end, however, he appears to have found redemption through the forgiveness of his wife and family.
As such, 4:44 is peppered with references to beginning a new chapter with the birth of his twins:
“Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles. Took me too long for this song, I don’t deserve you,” he rhymes.
“My heart breaks for the day I have to explain my mistakes and the mask goes away.”
Wait … natural twins?
Is he confirming that Beyonce’s first pregnancy was fake?!
We kid, of course – but such speculation is a good reminder that millions of fans will never tire of scrutinizing the lives of the Carters.