Kill Jay Z

Album: 4:44 (2017)
Charted: 55

Songfacts®:

  • Jay-Z opens his 14th studio album 4:44 with this freestyle, whose title is not to be taken at face value. The Brooklyn rapper explained to iHeartRadio:

    "Obviously, it's not to be taken literal. It's really about the ego. It's about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty."
  • The song samples The Alan Parsons Project I Robot track "Don't Let It Show" as we hear the words "They say I'm to blame" being repeated throughout the track.
  • 4:44 was produced entirely by Chicago beatsmith No I.D., whose previous collaborations with Jay-Z include the Blueprint 3 hit tunes "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" and "Run This Town."
  • Jay-Z addresses the 2014 elevator altercation between him and his sister-in law sister Solange.

    You egged Solange on
    Knowin' all along, all you had to say you was wrong.


    Surveillance footage emerged showing Solange lashing out at Jay Z as the pair plus Beyoncé left a Met Gala New York after party. The fight became a trending topic on social media around the world and Jay is saying here that he's sorry for that mess.

    Beyoncé earlier addressed the topic on the remix for her song "Flawless" when she sung:

    We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators
    Of course sometime s--t go down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator
  • The track finds Shawn Carter speaking to and about himself, specifically using the styling of Jay-Z in the title, to denote a departure from the non-hyphened moniker he'd been using between 2013 and 2017. This seems to be the Brooklyn rapper's way of purging himself past misdemeanors, some of which he touches on in this song. They include shooting his crack addict brother as a 12-year-old, the stabbing of record producer Lance Rivera in 1999, his altercation with Solange and his infidelity.
  • Jay-Z also appears to address the fall out of his relationship with Kanye West. The G.O.O.D. Music boss had criticised Hova during an on stage rant in late 2016 claiming that his former friend had the power to put a hit out on him. Days later he cancelled his Saint Pablo Tour and was hospitalized for hallucinations and paranoia. Now Jay appears to have struck back:

    You walkin' around like you invincible
    You dropped outta school, you lost your principles
    I know people backstab you, I felt bad too
    But this 'f--k everybody' attitude ain't natural
    But you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe
    But you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
    You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
    He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f--k was he thinkin'?
    "F--k wrong with everybody?" is what you sayin'
    But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane


    Fans have interpreted the above lines to be referencing Kanye's 2004 debut album The College Dropout, his nickname Ye, and the name of his son, Saint.
  • Jay references the breakdown of R&B singer Eric Benét's marriage to Halle Berry, drawing a parallel with his alleged cheating on Beyoncé.

    You almost went Eric Benét
    Let the baddest girl in the world get away
    I don't even know what else to say
    Nigga, never go Eric Benét


    Benét responded on Twitter—he's currently married to Prince's ex-wife, Manuela Testolini:

    Hey yo #Jayz! Just so ya know, I got the baddest girl in the world as my wife….like right now.

    In an interview with USA Today, Benét clarified his initial response, saying that he intended it to be "lighthearted" and that "it's all love."

    "He's talking about some deep stuff on the song, how he needs to be a better man for Blue and he went through it … and personally, I'm just happy to see that he and Beyoncé made it through on the other side, and everything is dope," he added. "So from my perspective, I think that everything that happens in your past, most of it leads to where you are today. And I love my life as it is, my babies and my wife, so life and God is good."
  • According to Jay-Z, he named the album 4:44 as that was the time he woke up in the morning to write the title track. However, fans have speculated that there might be a second meaning behind its name. The address for The Standard hotel, where the Jay-Z/Solange elevation fight occurred, is 444 West 13th Street.
  • Jay-Z claimed that one of the song's more controversial lyrics has been misinterpreted.

    In the future other niggas playin' football with your son

    The Atlanta rapper Future's son with Ciara, Future Zahir Wilburn, was born on May 19, 2014. The couple later separated and Ciara began a relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Many fans believed the lyric was about Future's son being seen with Wilson at football events. However Jay explained during an interview with the Rap Radar Podcast that he didn't intend any ill will.

    "It was a line to say, 'That could happen to me in my future,' and it just so happens that his name is Future," he said. "I don't mean any malice, that was really my fear."

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