As rumors of a new Jay-Z album swirled, fans and critics couldn’t help but prematurely compare it to Beyoncé’s sweeping Lemonade: Would Hov’s new material be a response to his spouse’s Grammy-winning 2016 project? Would it be as intimate? While early clues suggested 4:44 would be a movie starring Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danny Glover, Jay-Z’s upcoming album, identified as such by Sprint and Tidal’s partnership website, seems to be both a visual album and as deeply personal as Lemonade. To wit, the song featured in the album’s trailer is titled “Adnis,” a reference to Jay-Z’s deceased father, suggesting that this isn’t just your average black-and-white, Oscar-recipient-starring boxing movie we’re dealing with. Either way, looks like we’ll all find out in a little less than two weeks.
Update, June 19: According to Billboard, legendary Chicago producer and Capitol Music executive No I.D. produced the entirety of Jay-Z’s new album. The two last worked together on 2013’s “Holy Grail,” and have collaborated throughout Hov’s career.
Update, June 27: Roc Nation decided to build anticipation for the visual album even more (is that possible?) with a cinematic teaser for 4:44. Can it be Friday already?