July 5, 2017


Everything Jay-Z's '4:44' Did Over the Weekend

Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Roc Nation
Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Jay-Z planned his new album 4:44 to land, like 2013's Magna Carta...Holy Grail, over a long Fourth of July weekend. Here's everything that happened while you were or weren't listening.

4:44 went platinum, and Hov broke a new record.
The cover art notes "this is his 13th album," and it's also now Jay-Z's 13th platinum album, giving him more than any other hip-hop artist.

The LP was a streaming-only Tidal x Sprint exclusive till July 2, when it also became a free Tidal download for Sprint customers. On July 3 at 4:44 p.m. it became available for all (non-Sprint) Tidal users to stream. "Roc Nation tells Billboard that the [platinum] certification reflects 1 million downloads, and no streams were applied towards the certification," writes the magazine, which reminds us that an equivalent album unit can be one album sold, 10 tracks sold from that album, or 1,500 audio/video streams from that album.

That said, the Sprint-purchased free copies won't go toward Jay's Billboard chart tally due to a "pricing policy." But however many streams Tidal reports will count for the sales week ending Thursday, July 6.

Jay-Z also went instantly platinum with Magna Carta...Holy Grail, of which Samsung purchased 1 million copies to provide to its customers at no cost right off the bat.

We got the powerful "Footnotes for 'The Story of O.J.'"

The eight-minute clip is billed "episode one" of a series of 4:44 shorts. It's got an impressive list of famous black men giving personal perspective on American racism in candid interview clips. You'll see Jay, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Rock, Trevor Noah, Van Jones, Michael B. Jordan and more. "What I put in my head was gonna create my life. Right?" says Will Smith. "So I knew really young that if I thought of myself as somehow less than somebody else, I was gonna build a life that was less."

Adds Mahershala Ali, the Oscar-winner who's set to star in an NC-17–rated 4:44 film we still don't really know much about, "To go from the projects to the palaces, that's a lonnng journey. And a percent of a percent of a percent of a percent get to that point."

The "Footnotes" clip follows the animated, historically loaded music video for "The Story of O.J."

Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

The Kanye fallout.
Within the first minute of album-opener "Kill Jay-Z," big bro Hov addresses Kanye West's critical Saint Pablo Tour remarks from November. TMZ leapt at the drama and claimed 'Ye killed his deal with Tidal in the last few weeks. "Kanye has been unhappy with the company for a long time," says the site, citing anonymous sources. "We're told Kanye has complained the company owes him money—more than $3 million."

Recall 'Ye tweeted in July 2016:

"This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game. ... Fuck all this dick swinging contest. We all gon be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music. Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve."

As for that "you gave him $20 million without blinking" line on "Kill Jay-Z," TMZ says it's referring to a $20 million Saint Pablo Tour advance.

It got Chopped Not Slopped.
Houston's prolific team of OG Ron C, DJ Candlestick and DK Slim K did it again, dropping 44 Purple on July 4.

More songs were promised, including "Adnis."
"Letter to my dad that I never wrote / Speeches I prepared that I never spoke," Jay pensively rapped on the first snippet we heard from 4:44. The track, which shares a name with Shawn Carter's father, is reportedly coming on the physical edition, perhaps with others. We throw to longtime Jigga engineer Young Guru:

All 10 songs now make up Tidal's Top 10 most-played chart.
They've charting in the same order as the album with one notable exception: Track five, "4:44," is sitting at No. 3. People are very into Jay's mea culpa title track.

4:44 is also Tidal's No. 1 album, followed by DJ Khaled's GratefulSZA's CTRL2 Chainz's Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, and, at No. 5, 4:44's edited version. (2001 masterpiece The Blueprint shot up to No. 19.) Beyoncé's Lemonade is still up there at No. 8.

And ICYMI Friday...
Drake visited Baltimore's Azumi restaurant at 11:55 p.m. Thursday night and got them to play the new Hov on the patio at midnight, as soon as it was out. “While we normally have our own DJ's music playing through the speakers, we were able to accommodate him and they listened to Jay-Z's 4:44 album in its entirety,” said owner Joe Sweeney.

Before you head back to your 4:44 listening-cave, watch an in-depth Blueprint 3–era Jay-Z x Fuse interview: