JAY-Z had one helluva Father’s Day. After he and Beyoncé welcomed the birth of their twins over the weekend, the rapper-turned-mogul ended a week of intense speculation by officially announcing the title and release date of his brand new studio album as well as a slight grammatical change to his name’s spelling. The 4:44 rapper will now be known as JAY-Z, all caps, with the hyphen back in its proper place.
As we previously suggested, the new record will indeed be called 4:44 and will be available to Tidal subscribers and Sprint customers as of June 30. That gives you just under two weeks to decide whether or not to switch your phone plan, or to find the one friend of yours who actually uses Tidal and beg for their password.
There’s no telling how long JAY-Z intends on keeping his forthcoming album as a Tidal exclusive, but as his streaming service continues to flounder, expect JAY-Z—a shrewd businessman first and a rapper second these days—to keep it there for as long as it takes to gain any kind of ground on his closest competitors. That Beyoncé’s Lemonade still isn’t available for streaming on Apple or Spotify doesn’t bode well for non-Tidal subscribers.
So what will those of us who have yet to drink JAY=Z’s Kool-Aid be missing? Well, based on last week’s Mahershala Ali and Lupita Nyong’o-starring trailer, and a just-released second trailer called “Adnis,” which also happens to be Jay Z’s father’s name, 4:44 is being positioned as a deeply personal Jay Z origin story.
“Letter to my dad that I never wrote / Speeches that I prepare that never spoke / Words on a paper that I never read / Prose is never pen, they stayed in my head,“ JAY=Z raps in the trailer. We’re also led to believe that 4:44 will be a visual album in the same vein as Lemonade, and could even address the marital strife that Beyoncé often alluded to on her own masterwork.
Either way, June 30 is shaping up to be a monumental addition to the always compelling Carter family mythology.