In a new age of Soundcloud rappers and mumble rap, Jay-Z proves his legacy with 4:44.
4:44 is a personal album, there’s no other way to describe it. Initially 36 minutes long, Jay-Z pours his opinions and emotions into every track. From personal life drama to political views, there’s no filter to this album, which simultaneously shows Jay-Z’s strength as an artist and exposes his vulnerability within his personal life.
I often compare 4:44 to Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered. Mainly because both albums have an authentic style; almost like the artists were introduced to the beats in the studio and immediately began rapping into the mic. It makes for an interesting listening experience, moving away from the largely commercialised sound of his previous album, Magna Carta.
In a year of outstanding rap albums – including DAMN and Flower Boy – 4:44 stands out due to this authentic style. It’s hard to humanise many celebrities and entrepreneurs (especially when they’re worth over $800 million), yet that’s exactly what 4:44 achieves.
And a special shoutout to Run The Jewels 3 (RTJ 3), which was released last year but got a physical release this year; making me confused if I could make it album of the year (I decided not).
Run The Jewels have created the best workout album of all time.
RTJ 3 demands a high-quality speaker system or headphones. With each song comes a powerful beat and empowering lyrics; listening to RTJ 3 is like injecting a syringe of adrenaline in your ass. Every song is high-energy with the exclusion of the opening and closing tracks, it’s the perfect workout album, especially considering its runtime of only one hour.
This album stands strong as one of rap’s finest, and a highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t listened to it yet.