Jay-Z's new album, "4:44," is an understated but revealing work in which the 47-year-old rapper apologizes to Beyoncé for his rumored infidelities.
Jay-Z's new album, "4:44," is an immensely personal and revealing work from the 47-year-old rapper.
Over the course of the 10-track, Tidal-exclusive LP, Jay confronts the turbulence of his relationship with Beyoncé. They were married in 2008 after starting a relationship in the early 2000s.
Confirming the rumors of his infidelity established in Beyoncé's explosive 2016 album "Lemonade," Jay has many lines on the album that express regret to his wife for his actions over the years.
Here are the key moments in which Jay-Z apologized to Beyoncé on his new album:
"You egged Solange on knowin' all along / All you had to say, you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benét / Let the baddest girl in the world get away" ("Kill Jay Z")
In 2014, Jay-Z was involved in an altercation with Beyoncé's sister Solange outside an elevator at the Met Gala, and the source of the fight was rumored to be Jay's infidelity. Here the rapper acknowledges that he could have prevented the infamous moment by being honest about his cheating.
Jay also compares himself to R&B singer Eric Benét, who was married to actress Halle Berry from 2001 to 2005, when Berry divorced him for cheating on her.
"I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born to see through a woman's eyes." ("4:44")
On the album's centerpiece and title track, "4:44," Jay gets brutally honest about his womanizing and infidelity. He mentions how the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy, changed his perspective of his relationship and granted him a newfound maturity.
Jay told iHeartRadio that the track was "one of the best songs" he had ever written, and it's certainly the most candid and open we've ever seen the Brooklyn rapper on wax.
"I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns / 'Cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it." ("4:44")
In a truly devastating line, Jay seems to blame his emotional distance and philandering for the miscarriage Beyoncé suffered in 2011, before the birth of Blue Ivy.
In her 2013 HBO documentary, "Life is but a Dream," Beyoncé related how she lost her child in the early stages of her pregnancy.
"I flew back to New York to get my checkup, and no heartbeat," she said. "Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat."
"'You did what with who?' / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / 'You risked that for Blue?'" ("4:44")
Here Jay plays out a back-and-forth between Beyoncé's astonished reaction upon learning of his affair and his own remorseful realization that he risked his marriage (his "soulmate") and daughter on another woman.
"Yeah, I'll f--- up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky / A man that don't take care of his family can't be rich / I'll watch 'Godfather,' I missed that whole shit." ("Family Feud")
Jay mentions and distances himself from "Becky with the good hair," Beyoncé's infamous nickname for his alleged mistress on her single "Sorry" from her album "Lemonade."
He also alludes to and internalizes a monologue from "The Godfather," wherein Marlon Brando's Don Vito Corleone says "a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."