Everything We Know About a New Jay Z Album So Far
It's been over three years since Jay Z last released an album, 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail, but if you are to believe the stars, the tea leaves and the whispers, that's about to change. No doubt, Hov has been back on his rap ish lately, lending guest verses to Pusha T's "Drug Dealers Anonymous" and DJ Khaled's "I Got the Keys" and jumping on the remix to Fat Joe and Remy Ma's "All the Way Up," but has he caught the album bug?
Jay has been featured on recent songs in the past, such as DJ Khaled's 2014 hit "They Don't Love You No More," so there's more to the inkling that an album is coming than the fact that his pen's been active. Many thought that Jay would want to issue his own musical statement in response to Beyonce's April release Lemonade. In early May, Us Weekly quoted a source as saying, "Jay is working on an album telling his side of things."
There's more than hearsay and speculation though. In late April, Just Blaze, who constructed many of Jay's classic sounds and records, said, "I have at least two albums worth of Jay Z material sitting in my vault. So it’s not that they ever have to worry about me leaking records or releasing information. I give people sneak peeks when it’s appropriate or when the artists want to do it.”
So when you put all the stray pieces together, what exactly do we know of Jay's potential next album? Take a look below to get an idea of everything we know so far about a new Jay Z album.
Mensa recently shed some light on his relationship with Jay and Beyonce, saying that they're both smart, good people. As for what Hov has been working on, Mensa says, "I’ve heard a little bit of some Hov shit and it’s fresh as fuck, but I can’t say anything about anything else."
Jermaine Dupri sent Hov fans into a frenzy in July when he let this little bit go during a recent interview: "Me and Jay have conversations that I’m probably sure he doesn’t have with anybody... I know the name of Hov’s new album. It might be done.”
Following the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rogue, Jay released "Spiritual" via TIDAL, noting that he recorded the song "awhile ago." His flow on the track nears spoken word, the instrumental filled with ominous sounding keys. In a written message Jay said that TDE's Punch suggested he drop the song after Mike Brown was killed in 2014, meaning the track is at least two years old. The song was Jay's first solo release in quite some time and could very well end up on the new album, or clue in to what it might sound like.
There was a notion that Jay would be looking to release a companion album to Beyonce's Lemonade, his side of the story, so to speak, but in May, Us Weekly reported that the two were working on a project together, one source saying that they would never do an interview answering questions about their marriage, that "it’s more their style to respond through music.” What's more, word then was that the project was completed and would be out on TIDAL sooner rather than later. The two have a long history of collaborating on singles, but a joint album would be on an entirely different level.
When a photo of Hov and producer Zaytoven popped up, hip-hop heads immediately took notice. Zay posted the image on his Instagram account, posing in front of Jay in what looks to be a studio. The caption? "Jaytoven." Looks like these two could have some serious heat on the way.
In May 2017, Swizz Beatz posted a pic of himself and Jigga Man laughing and alluded to the fact that the rapper was in "album mode."
"They don't even know what's about to happen," said Swizz on the pic.
In May 2017 as the summer festival line-ups began to roll out, Jay popped up as headliner on two major festivals; Budweiser's Made in America Festival in Philadelphia and Meadows Music and Arts Festival in Queens.
While HOV has been known to show up at a festival and chill in VIP, he's not known to headline unless he's got something big up his sleeve.
In early June 2017, mysterious Tidal ads began to pop up all over New York City, as well as on websites like MissInfo and WorldStarHipHop, reading nothing more than "4:44." Fans began to guess that this minimal advertising was a hint that Jigga's album was on the way.
Four has always been a special number for Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce. Jay's birthday is Dec. 4 and Bey's is Sept. 4, the pair were married on April 4th and have matching "IV" tattoos,, so this speculation isn't too farfetched.
Although the 4:44 marketing campaign turned out to be for a new film Tidal is releasing with actor Mahershala Ali, the album speculation reached new heights when fans saw that Jay Z as well as his producer/engineer Young Guru took a trip down to Jamaica to record at Bob Marley's famed Tuff Gong Studios. Jigga was rumored to be working on new music with Damian Marley Jr.
HOV finally dropped the bombshell on fans late Sunday night (June 18) that his brand new album is due out on June 30 as an exclusive to postpaid and prepaid Sprint members and existing Tidal users.
The promotion of the 4:44 album features Jay's name stylized as Jay:Z.
With just a week left before dropping 4:44, Jay was spotted shooting visuals. According to released photos from bystanders, the rapper was seen reportedly filming a new music video in Brooklyn, which was set up near Marcy Projects, where he originally grew up.
Those involved in Jay's visuals leaked bits of information and images through social media.
The images come courtesy of Jeymes Samuels of The Bullits who shared them on Instagram Live. They show well-known actors Jesse Williams, Emile Hirsch, Ron Perlman and Johnathan Tucker in prison jumpsuits. All the D.O.C numbers appear to end in 444. One of the photos is captioned, “20 minutes of sleep Jay Z got me getting my ass kicked.”
As the countdown clock to '4:44' ticked away, Tidal shared new promo videos for the project, suggesting it will be visual as well as an audible experience for fans. One of the promo videos features actress Lupita N'yongo.