Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44, arrived early Friday morning (June 30), giving us 10 intensely personal and political tracks that don’t bury the truth. The one that most explicitly references Lemonade is the brutally honest title track, which Jay called “the crux of the album.”
“I apologize, often womanize / 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,” he raps, adding later, “I suck at love / I think I need a do-over.”
Seemingly referring to a conversation with his wife, he continues, “And if my children knew / I don’t even know what I would do / If they ain’t look at me the same / I would probably die with all the shame / ‘You did what with who?’ / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / ‘You risked that for Blue?’”
Upon the album’s release, Jay-Z broke down the meaning of each track for iHeartRadio. Regarding “4:44,” he said, “I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 a.m., to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It's the title track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written.”
After “4:44,” the next song on the album is “Family Feud,” which features ethereal vocals from Beyoncé and includes Jay rapping the line, “Leave me alone Becky.” That’s a direct reference to Bey’s memorable “Sorry” lyric about “Becky with the good hair,” a.k.a. the woman Jay was cheating with. Interestingly, Beyoncé is credited as a co-writer on the track, suggesting everything’s smoothed over in the Carter household. Whew.