Quickie: A Couple Standouts from Jay-Z’s 4:44

So I haven’t felt like doing a review of a whole album but Jay-Z’s latest release, 4:44, would have been a great candidate. By the time I listened to it I had already taken in too much outside thoughts to get across an untainted opinion. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. The introspection and owning up to his past faults was incredibly mature and not something many rappers have the experience to write about. Jay-Z has a unique perspective on the industry. He’s pretty much conquered his genre, married one of the most beautiful women ever (don’t @ me) and is rich to a point that it should translate to wealth. Think of rappers you consider the best; how many of them are in the position Jay is in?

In any case, while 4:44 as a whole is excellent, some tracks have stood out to me and lodged themselves into my brain. First off, “Moonlight” is such a well made song. The instrumental isn’t hard hitting but makes me nod hard regardless. Add in different pitched “La La La” vocal samples and it’s definitely one of my favorite listens on the album. The song is influenced by the snafu at the Oscars last year but outside of that, Jay spends a great deal of time talking about new rappers and how dumb they are (in so many words). He’s from a different era and criticizes the current one from his POV. The random bass drum drop outs, Jay’s flow and the old head, “What are these youngins doing??” lyrics.  I love everything about this song.

Another is “Marcy Me” with it’s Motown-like drums, heavy reliance on pianos and once again the prevalence of vocal samples throughout the song. Jay-Z reflects on his time growing up in Brooklyn in the Marcy houses. The instrumental matches the mood of the lyrics as reflective and some clever wordplay really accomplish the goal that was set. “Think I just popped up in this bitch like a fetus? Nah Pregnant pause” Hahaha that’s awesome.

Obviously the title track is special. I looked up the sample for this song because I had assumed it was some black women in the 60s ripping it up. I was wrong, it’s Hannah Williams and it was released just last year. The original is amazing and has similar themes of infidelity which is why the sample that was chosen is so perfect (like no shit Justin). This album has no traditional bangers and I think that’s why I like it so much. That is not a crutch Jay could have leaned on. Gimme a beat that slaps and I care less about the message. To No I.D.’s credit though…the production is INCREDIBLE. This song is incredibly personal about Jay and Bey’s relationship and how he did her wrong. It’s great, just listen to it.

I’m not about to go through every song but I wanted to mention a couple other parts that I liked:

Giving out “Million dollars worth of advice for $9.99” is great on “The Story of OJ.” Jay-Z is letting his fans in on the secrets financial success which I think is hilarious.

“Family Feud” features a lot of Beyonce vocals in the background and Jay’s cockiness is back. They’ve built a crazy empire of a life and that could all crumble if they are at odds with each other. It’s dope. Amen.

“Adnis” is cool even though there isn’t much happening. The simpleness and subdued nature of the instrumental feels like at any time it could break into something much more grandiose. Jay’s voice has more dynamics than the beat but no by much. The subject matter is a bit dark but still a really good song.

Maaaaan, I really like 4:44…like the whole thing. Perspective and production are the things that really set this apart for me. Jay-Z is technically great from a rapping stand point and it seems he poured his soul out onto this album. Three songs have made it onto my playlist but I regularly listen to all of it straight through.

Welp. This wasn’t quick at all.

Shuke? Lay? Sheitz? Reitzowicz?

Despite writing a ton, expressing feelings is not my strong suit. For that reason, I’ll try to keep this short. All this has been said before but I didn’t actually do anything for your wedding so here this is.

You guys are great. Along with my parents, you guys are very real examples that love is real and sometimes you just find the perfect person. I only see a very small portion of time you spend together but what is portrayed is very encouraging to even the most pessimistic love haters (not me…other people). I will just continue to 3rd wheel your life for fun.

Sure, I’ve known Luke a bit longer but at this point you guys have both become really good friends of mine. Luke, you’ve been just a solid dude and a great friend. Driving my ass to gigs, letting me stop fights in our more drunken days and making decisions for groups of people that sometimes generally suck at it. You’re endlessly self-sacrificing and way more mature than most. You also ain’t too bad at the bass. In another world we could’ve taken over the city as the GOAT rhythm section.

Shay, I’ve grown to enjoy your unwavering kindness over the years. At first, it just didn’t make any sense to me. The world sucks and people suck more. Why are you soooo nice?  I genuinely admire that part of you now.  We’ve shared a ton of drinks. You’ve always tried to help me when I was looking for a job or an apartment. I also feel the most comfortable talking to you about dating, women, relationships blah blah blah. Never change (sounds like a dumb yearbook quote).

The world should be endlessly thankful for y’alls mere existence. Despite being gross and kissing just like soo deeply in public (live your life, I don’t care) I couldn’t be happier that you two are together. If either of you hurt one another, I’m fightin’. Now go get those tax breaks!

With Love,

Justin Mark Davis aka Third Wheel Davis aka “I didn’t bring anything, can I have a beer?” aka “I don’t have any cash, can I just Venmo you?” aka “Last person to leave after a party”

PS: Also, you guys are both so fucking pretty…like what the hell. How is that even fair?

 

Foggy

On a fiction kick nah’mean.


Danny drank too much. He wouldn’t describe himself as an alcoholic but it was definitely above average. On this particular morning, he found himself stumbling out of his friends house at 10 am after a particularly turnt evening. He felt a full body exhaustion and his right hand was sore. “It must’ve rained last night…also this is definitely Ben’s shirt,” he thought to himself. The streets were damp and while it was still relatively early, the temperature was already getting uncomfortably warm. A thick fog covered the street while the humidity made his skin feel a little moist. The hangover combined with the fog made the streets he knew so well feel foreign. He looked left, then right and determined the red car on the corner looked more familiar and went that way.

As he slowly walked he determined that he was probably still drunk which is actually terrible when you don’t want to be. A rough day will follow when the hangover hits in earnest midday. His phone buzzes in his pocket. Whoever needed him at that very moment can definitely wait, he determined. Arriving at the corner with the red car he realizes that he went in the wrong direction. As to not look like more of a fool, Danny pulls out his phone and swiftly turns around as if his change in direction and the information on his phone are related. What he sees on the phone does surprise him though. “U owe me pal!” the text reads.

Who is this? Wat are u talking about?” Danny responds. Like the weather, the events of last night are extremely foggy. At this point, he has made it to the correct block and he is racking is non functioning brain for clues as to what this mysterious text means. His phone buzzes again. It’s a picture message. Danny furrows his brow, opens the message and barfs immediately. It’s all over the sidewalk, gross brown and clear liquid. It got on his shoes. A kid down the block quickly turns and walks away with some audible disgust. The picture is the back of man whose body seems familiar stabbing another stranger in the face. The scene was in what looked like to be a yard which also seemed vaguely familiar.  It was a bloody, gory, drunken mess.

“Wtf is this?!? WHO ARE YOU?” He was texting surprisingly well considering his current state. Danny looks back at the picture and realizes the person wielding the knife…How does he not remember this? Is that why he’s wearing a different shirt? Does that explain the pain in his hand?

In his drunken and now terrified state he does not see the metal pole and slams his head into it. Everything comes rushing back as he starts to fall; feelings of rage and then paralyzing fear before collapsing onto the pavement. Danny’s phone buzzes as a call comes in next to his immobilized body.

 

via Daily Prompt: Foggy