The important messages behind Jay Z’s 4:44

Disclaimer: I always wanted to write a post about this album but I was unsure about how I was going to set it out. Therefore, I kind of just left it. However, I then remembered how much I enjoyed writing my Lorde – Melodrama album review so I thought i’d just give it another try.

Jay Z, Hova, Jigga, the rap legend is back with his 13th solo album and it carries a lot of meaningful messages with it.

rs_634x789-170306082546-634.jay-z-beyonce-blue-ivy-carter.3617After listening to the album, I realised that the 47 year old businessman had a lot of things to get off his chest. Yes, the biggest shock was that Jay finally confessed to cheating on Beyoncé. He also addresses a few other hiccups in his life that we all wanted answers to. For example, the shooting of his brother, the stabbing of Lance ‘Un’ Rivera and that all so very heated elevator incident with Solange. He even mentions how he would hate for his children to find out that he was ever disloyal to Bey. Despite all of that, i’m only going to talk about the important messages that could benefit others from this insightful album.

Jay gives advice to new and upcoming young rappers in this album. Those rapper that are getting unthinkable sums of money so quickly causing them to be irresponsible with it. He advises them to make investments instead of wasting money on pointless things such as flashy cars. He says “Fuck dying broke and living rich” and he kind of has a good point. It makes more sense to leave money behind for your children. Towards the end of the album is the track ‘Legacy’ he goes on to rap “That’s how we keep Carter money all in the family”.

The Shawn Carter Foundation Hosts An Evening of "Making The Ordinary Extraordinary"Along with sharing financial advice, Jay shows his support to his lesbian mother who had four children  before coming out. He explains how he has no problem with it and that he will love her no matter what with the lyrics of “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love, don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her, I just wanna see you smile through all the hate”. This is something that I think will help tackle homophobia in the black and  hip hop community.

Finally, lets discuss Hov addressing the subject of black excellence. Despite all setbacks of being a black man in America, Jay has been able to achieve many things within his career. From creating thirteen solo albums to being the founder of Roc Nation and owner of Tidal. Shawn has created an empire for not only himself, but also his family. I feel as though Jay has set the bar for major success and it is something that more young black kids should aspire to be doing.

Are streaming sites devaluing our music?

Music has been a massive part of popular culture for generations and children are almost instantly introduced to it. However, the way in which music is being consumed and listened to has shifted over the years. People used to buy their music in stores. They bought tapes, vinyl’s and CD’s. People would listen to music through mainstream radio stations too. The way that music is being listened to and consumed nowadays is completely different. Streaming has now become one of the most popular ways in which people listen to music with over 100 million people now paying for music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. These sites have made it much easier for people to access their music. Along with this, streaming has almost made it effortless for people to explore new music. I personally use Tidal and I know that I would never have found half of the music, genres and artists that I listen to now without it.

Although streaming sites do offer all of these amazing features, many people argue that it has literally ruined the music industry. It makes it difficult for artists to make money from their music as the streaming sites do tend to take a large percentage of their profit along with record labels and other organisations. Many people also say that streaming sites devalues music itself. It has been brought to discussion by artists such as Beyoncé who feel as if people just don’t make albums anymore which is a real shame.

Despite all of this, it has lead to artists and fan bases using social media to communicate and interact. This has been great for new artists who are getting more recognition such as Kehlani and SZA and Khalid. They have been able to build a fan base for themselves without needing to use radio and television promotion which is very costly. Artists and the interaction with their fans through social media sites is crucial in the 21st century. Having a physical copy is very satisfying and is something for you to look after but after all, it is very exciting when you know that your favourite artist is going to drop an album at midnight and you stay up to share your excitement with friends and fellow fans online.

The use of streaming sites and social media combined has definitely made it easy for artists to share their music with their audiences. However, is it making the music too accessible for people?  After all, Beyoncé says the she misses that “immersive experience” and I’m sure that many listeners as well as artists like herself agree.