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Revisiting Jay-Z's '4:44': Get Him, Shawn

Here's the third part of my miniseries "Revisiting Jay-Z's '4:44.'" So sit, enjoy the binge reading.

By Sadé SanchezPublished 6 years ago 2 min read

In classic Shawn Carter fashion, it has been almost four months since the release of his thirteenth studio album, 4:44, and we're still talking about it.

“We have this album that we can talk about real shit, real issues and get through a dark time. If I didn’t repair my [situation], I don’t know happens. That took a level of soul searching and self explanation...maturing and evolution." - pt.1

4:44 is filled with such dense subject matter and gems-galore, that I've made this a binge worthy miniseries. We are at the half way point with the album's leading track, "Kill Jay-Z." As always, I take a closer look and use the Rap Radar interview for support. Click here to check out the rest of the series.

4:44 starts off beautifully with its lead track, "Kill Jay-Z." As music videos are to be visually entertaining, this one is more thought provoking and much more than just a music video. However short, the visual is just powerful enough. In its simplicity, "Kill Jay-Z" is anything but simple.

"I don’t think I was ready for that level of getting to know yourself. That’s the most difficult thing to do. It’s easy to get to know other people. Get to know yourself, like really know yourself, really ask yourself the questions you really don’t want to hear. The things that you’ve done — that’s how 'Kill Jay-Z' came about. - pt. 1

With a beat reminiscent of police sirens, here's this kid running through the streets for his life. Wearing a "Stay Black" shirt, this image attributes to all the police violence towards young minorities. If you haven't reached that level of self-reflection, here is a visual that you can relate to or rather should just take notice of. This depiction is just brilliant. While the album itself covers a wide range of topics, here Shawn adds one more to one of his mini-documentaries. While it's a song about himself, he visually makes note of the Black Lives Matter movement. While it's nothing new, the number of police killings seemed to climb tremendously in such a short amount of time. Shawn plays off his own narrative to illustrate what these kids felt running for their lives. How they felt waving that white flag, surrendering, and yet still get shot down, like Jay-Z waving the white flag to Shawn. He visually represents his own inner conflict (man versus self) with the common external conflict (man versus society) that far too many can attest to.

This is just another double, triple, quadruple entendre for the win - “Don’t even ask me how.”

“Let's just keep it real, Jay-Z.”

"Kill Jay-Z" is a shot at himself, at his ego. Walls are about to come tumbling down. This is the inner workings of Shawn Carter's conscience. This is what's going on in his mind, as he hunts down his ego "Jay-Z" and demands answers for his actions. Shawn is reprimanding his ego for getting carried away. For almost losing his family and even allowing himself to be in that position. For giving Kanye 20 million, for almost losing his family like Future. He is holding himself accountable the way he would anybody else.

"You know in your soul when you’re doing wrong. This is what you’ve done. I’m talking to myself and taking ownership. … Killing off the ego in the beginning of the album so we can have a different kind of conversation. So now nothing is off limits. Let’s strip it down. Let’s take the mask off, let’s stop bullshitting and let’s talk about some real shit." - pt 1

By opening the album up with this track, he’s letting his listeners know that what they’re about to listen to isn’t typical Hov. Yes, he’s been personal in his past albums, but not as of late. He’s spilled some secrets of his life like shooting his brother before, but this right here — just be prepared.

Go ahead, check out the next visual offering from Jay-Z.

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About the Creator

Sadé Sanchez

I'm a 20-something year old who's obsessed with music, and sometimes I write about it. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

IG: @writtenbysade



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