In Queen Bey’s album, Lemonade, which dropped in April last year, the singer got personal, addressing all the elephants in the room. It was clear that everything wasn’t coming up all roses for the power couple, who welcomed twins earlier this month.
In one of her songs, the award-winning artist sang: “I tried to make a home out of you, but doors lead to trap-doors”. She also asks: “Are you cheating on me?”, before adding: “Big Homie better grow up.”
Now hubby Jay-Z appears shed new light on the infidelity allegations in his new 10-track album, 4:44, which he dropped on Tidal today.
Vogue reports that the title song – which Jay-Z has called the “crux of the album” – features the lyrics: “I apologise often womanise / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song / I don’t deserve you.”
Fans now speculate that the track was inspired by the rapper’s guilt over being unfaithful to Beyoncé, referencing the couple’s children – five-year-old Blue Ivy and recently born twins.
After footage emerged of Queen Bey’s sister Solange attacking Jay-Z in a lift, Beyoncé sang: “Of course, sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars in an elevator.”
In 4:44, Jay-Z addresses the moment, rapping: “You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away … I don’t even know what you woulda done, in the future, other niggas playing football with your son.”
According to The Guardian, Jay-Z also responds to Beyoncé’s Sorry, in which she sings: “Looking at my watch, he shoulda been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on … He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.”
Jay-Z raps: “I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky! / A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich.”
Jay-Z has used his latest albums as corporate bargaining chips
In the last four years, Jay-Z has released two albums, both through non-traditional means. While most artists would sign with a record label to release their album, the most successful hip-hop artist of all time, a man worth $810 million, has made deals with a smartphone maker and carrier to cover distribution and promotion. The total value of the agreements, which include not just Jay Z’s music, but his businesses is a whopping $220 million.
The musical fruit of that deal, Jay Z’s 13th solo album 4:44, was released exclusively today to Tidal and Sprint customers.
— TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) June 27, 2017
In these arrangemeJay-ZJay Z doesn’t simply benefit from sales and traditional promotions. He has turned his albums into rising tides that lift the boats that are his various enterprises. In billion-dollar brands, he’s unlocked opportunities that record labels simply can’t provide.
These are things labels would usually cover — marketing would be taken care of and an advance would be paid to the artist — but labels would also take the lion’s share of the backend profit and in most cases own the artists’ master recordings as part of the record contract they signed. Instead, Jay-Z has seemingly managed to figure out a way to use his talents as a legendary musician as a bargaining chip in corporate negotiations.
Frankly, it’s a brilliant strategy, albeit one that’s only available to musicians who’ve already established their celebrity and their investments. There aren’t even a handful of artists that could get a deal like this done. It takes a superstar who owns their own masters, has had previous success in business, and is still culturally relevant. When you check those three boxes off you’re left with maybe three or four people in the world who can even create a similar offering.
There may be a temptation to call these brand deals selling out, but that suggest eases or a lack of care. These deals are the product of the opposite, a person carefully, meticulously, and brilliantly turning his very identity into a brand, one that has transcended his industry. Jay-Z hasn’t sold out; companies have bought in.