Artist of the Week

Week 28 of 2017


Shortly after welcoming twin children with his wife Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z made a grand comeback in music by releasing his first album in almost four years. Titled "4:44", the album was a joint project between Tidal and Sprint. The ten-track studio effort, which followed up 2013's "Magna Carta... Holy Grail", went platinum in less than a week.

The album has received critical acclaim from fellow rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg following its release. However, some artists, such as Future and Eric Benet, were displeased that Jigga addressed their cheating scandals on his album. 50 Cent was also not impressed by the effort, calling it "golf course music."

Compared to Jiggas's previous albums, "4:44" might be his most controversial, emotional and raw effort. He enlisted his mother Gloria Carter for a song titled "Smile", which found her coming out as a lesbian. Meanwhile, on the title track "4:44", the music mogul showed his vulnerable side as he apologized to his wife for cheating on her and often womanizing.

He recently said of the title track, "I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning. 4:44 A.M., to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It's the titled track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written."

For the physical release, Jigga provided three bonus tracks, including "Adnis", James Blake-assisted song "ManyFacedGod" and "Blue's Freestyle/We Family", which featured his daughter Blue Ivy rapping for 45 seconds straight.

Jay-Z is set to headline a number of festivals in the next few months. He is also said to be ready to kick off a tour in support of "4:44" this fall. The upcoming trek will be promoted by Live Nation, with whom the rapper signed a touring deal, reportedly worth $200 million, back in May.


Blue's Freestyle

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Born Shawn Corey Carter on April 12, 1969, Jay-Z grew up in drug-infested area, Marcy Projects, Brooklyn. He was raised only by his mother, Gloria Carter, after his dad abandoned him and his brothers. Growing up, he experienced the tough life on the streets of New York. He explored his rap skill when he briefly attended Eli Whitney High School with fellow rappers Notorious B.I.G and Busta Rhymes. Alongside his partners in his early group "Original Flavor", Jay-Z, Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke co-founded an independent label called Roc-a-Fella Records in 1996. Later, Roc-a-Fella was folding into Def Jam Recordings. » more


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