20 of the Best Lyrics from Jay-Z’s ‘4:44′ Album
Of all of the rappers that have made an impact on the landscape of hip-hop throughout the genre's existence, JAY-Z is arguably the most captivating and surely the most successful, with an empire and legacy that is as historic as they come. Although it can be debated if he's the best MC of all time, depending on your particular criteria, in terms of rap figures, no other artist in hip-hop has beat the odds quite like Hov. This is in large part why the rapper remains as celebrated as he has more than 20 years after unleashing his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996.
So when rumors began to swirl about JAY-Z planning to release his 13th solo studio album, the news instantly created an air of excitement among listeners, critics and even fellow rappers, all eager to see what Hov would bring to the table this time. However, more importantly, the anticipation was also a byproduct of the hip-hop populous' curiosity about whether he was still capable of wowing us with his sheer lyrical ability and innate observations or if he had a lost a step—many had whispered as such following the release of his last solo LP, 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail.
As the news was confirmed that Hovi was in fact coming home with a new LP, titled 4:44, in tow, the music world began to salivate, and prepare for what would surely be the biggest musical event in rap this year. And JAY-Z (along with his hyphen) certainly didn't disappoint with 4:44, his most transparent album to date, and one that showcases the continuous evolution and maturation of Shawn Carter.
There is a lot to unpack and digest on 4:44, but after giving the album a focused listen, XXL highlights 20 of the best lyrics from the album that are worth their weight in gold.
"Kill JAY-Z, they'll never love you/You'll never be enough, let's just keep it real, JAY-Z/Fuck JAY-Z, I mean, you shot your own brother/How can we know if we can trust JAY-Z?/And you know better, nigga, I know you do/But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue"
"You walkin' around like you invincible/You dropped outta school, you lost your principles/I know people backstab you, I felt bad too/But this 'fuck everybody' attitude ain't natural/But you ain't a Saint, 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 onstage, fuck was he thinkin'?"
"House nigga, don't fuck with me/I'm a field nigga with shined cutlery/Gold-plated quarters where the butlers be/I'ma play the corners where the hustlers be/I told him, 'Please don't die over the neighborhood/That your mama rentin'/Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood/That's how you rinse it'"
"So all the ladies havin' babies, see a sacrifice/Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian/Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take/Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don't matter to me if it's a him or her" - JAY-Z
"I mastered my aesthetics/I know you often heard me wax poetic/'Bout bein' back in the Lexus/But trust me, that was nothin'/A nigga up in the hundreds of millions/I have no ceilings, ah, this that feelin', I'm that boy/Anita Baker's 'You Bring Me Joy'/Slappin' out of the toy, the separation is clear/In my rearview mirror, objects is further than they appear" - JAY-Z
"Flyin' paper planes through the projects/Now the whole projects on my jet/Now you see the real in the front row/In every one of y'all televised shows/Super facts/Niggas switched sides, traded pride, we don't do all that/A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson/Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin'" - JAY-Z
"Playin' for high stakes/Norman Cake, he looked up and out of the Lear/How niggas can't relate?/Fuck a slice of the apple pie, want my own cake/Chargin' my own fate, respect Jimmy Iovine/But he gotta respect the Elohim as a whole new regime/And niggas playin' for power, huh/So our music is ours" JAY-Z
"Drug dealers and abusers, America likes me ruthless/My therapist said I relapsed/I said, 'Prehaps I Freudian slipped in European whips'/God sent me to break the chain/I'm the true and livin'/God in the flesh, the rest of these niggas is vain/A stain on the white suit, inferior IQ/Niggas'll rip your shit off TIDAL just to spite you" - JAY-Z
"These industry niggas, they always been fishy/But ain't no Biggie, no lazy eye, huh/This guy had 'Slave' on his face/You think he wanted the masters with his masters?/You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house/I'm surprised you ain't auction off the casket" - JAY-Z
"I apologize for all the stillborns/’Cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it/I apologize to all the women whom I toyed with you emotions because I was emotionless/I apologize ’cause at your best you are love/And because I fall short of what I say I'm all about/Your eyes leave with the soul that your body once housed/And you stare blankly into space/Thinkin' of all the time you wasted in on all this basic shit/So I apologize"
"'You did what with who?'/What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?/'You risked that for Blue?'/If I wasn't a superhero in your face/My heart breaks for the day I had to explain my mistakes/And the mask goes away and Santa Claus is fake/And you go online and see/For Blue's tooth, the tooth fairy didn't pay"
"Super Bowl goals/My wife in the crib feedin' the kids liquid gold/We in a whole different mode/Kid that used to pitch bricks can't be pigeonholed/I cooked up more chicken when the kitchen closed/Oh, we gon' reach a billi' first/I told my wife the spiritual shit really work!/Alhamdulillah, I run through ’em all/Hovi's home, all these phonies come to a halt"
"I'm tryna fix you/I'm tryna get these niggas with no stripes to be official/Y'all think small, I think Biggie/Y'all whole pass is in danger, ten Mississippi/Al Sharpton in the mirror takin' selfies/How is him or Pill Cosby s'posed to help me?/Old niggas never accepted me/New niggas is the reason I stopped drinkin' Dos Equis"
"Shawn was on that gospel shit/I was on the total fuckin' opposite/Shit, stuff a million dollars in the sock drawer/That's a war chest in case you need your chest knocked off/Y'all be talkin' crazy under them IG pictures/So when you get to Hell you tell ’em blanco sent you/I can't take no threats, I got a set of twins/Those were just the words you'll never hear again" - JAY-Z
"Niggas could not be further, I fathered your style/Birth of a Nation, Nat Turner style/Uh, y'all make me turn up all this talkin' down/Uh, niggas is skippin' leg day just to run they mouth/I be skippin' leg day, I still run the world/I pressed the head of your team with one finger curled/I'll line you all up with one finger wave/Make niggas weave, niggas is out here fake" - JAY-Z
"Look, I know killers, you no killer, huh?/Bathing Ape maybe not a gorilla, huh?/Glorified seat filler, huh?/Stop walkin' around like y'all made 'Thriller,' huh?/Fake Dracos all in the videos/We sure we shoot ’em in my city though/I don't post no threats on the internet/I just pose a threat, blame Lenny S for that"
"Back when ratchet was a ratchet and the vixen was a vixen/And Jam Master Jay was alive I was mixin'/Cookin' coke in the kitchen/Back when Rodman was a Piston/Mike was losin' to Isiah, but he soon would get his sixth one/Gave birth to my verbal imagination/Assume a virtue if you have not/Or better yet here's a verse from Hamlet"
"I'm from Marcy houses, where the boys die by the thousand/Back when Pam was on Martin/Yeah, that's where it all started/When Denzel was blottin' carpet, I'll pack a nine millimeter/When Slick Rick made 'Mona Lisa'/When Lisa Bonet was Beyoncé of her day, I had divas, y'all/Think I just popped up in this bitch like a fetus? Nah/Pregnant pause, give you some second thoughts/There's room on the bandwagon, don't abort/Marcy me"
"Marcy me/Streets is my artery, the vein of my existence/I'm the Gotham City heartbeat/I started in lobbies now, probably with Saudis/Sufi to the goofies, I could probably speak Farsi/That's poetry read a coca leaf from my past/Came through the bushes smellin' like roses/I need a trophy just for that"
"You see, my father, son of a preacher man/Whose daughter couldn't escape the reach of the preacher's hand/That charge of energy set all the Carters back/It took all these years to get to zero in fact/I hated religion ’cause here was this Christian/He was preachin' Sundays, versus how he was livin' Monday/Someday I forgive him/’Cause strangely our division led to multiple religions"