While he’s been around for more than two decades, Jay-Z has no problem when it comes to commanding the attention of hip-hop listeners. Whenever he so decides to bless fans with new music, the general reaction is to drop what you’re is doing, and give the man known as Hov your full attention. And based on what he’s been doing as of late, it appears as though new music is imminent.
While some theorized that the album, tentatively referred to as 4:44, would be released at 4:44 p.m. on Tuesday, the time came and went on both coasts with no new music. Fans were unhappy to say the least, but this only means that the speculation and aura surrounding the album will continue to grow.
Here’s five fast facts you need to know about Jay-Z’s new album.
1. Billboards Reading ‘4:44’ Appeared In New York City
Jay-Z has a history of unorthodox album releases. Between his groundbreaking deal with Sprint to release Magna Carta Holy Grail in 2013, and the role that he played in the rollout for Beyoncé last two albums, Jay is clearly an artist who knows how to seize a moment. The latest case of this was on Tuesday, when a series of pink and black fliers that read “4:44” were found throughout New York City. This included local subways, streets, and even Times Square, which you can check out in the image below.
The banner also appeared on a number of reputed hip-hop websites, including Complex, Fader, and Hypebeast, furthering the theory that it’s somehow tied to the release of a new Jay project. According to Spin, nothing happened when users clicked on the banner, but the source code on Complex‘s ad contained the numeric reference ‘”tidal-444,” which suggested that it could be a dormant link to Jay’s streaming service, Tidal.
2. The Number ‘4’ Will Play A Big Part In the Album
The other source of speculation was the numeric title that accompanied the banner: “4:44.” The first, and seemingly most reasonable theory behind this is that it ties into Jay and Beyoncé’s well-documented love of the number four. In 2011, Beyoncé’s fourth studio album was appropriately named, 4. The famous couple were married on the 4th of the fourth month, April, and even got matching “IV” tattoos to mark the occasion.
But wait, there’s more. Jay’s birthday is December 4th, for those familiar with the namesake track off The Black Album (2003), and Beyoncé’s birthday is September 4th. Some have even speculated that their daughter’s middle name, Ivy, was a reference to the Roman numeral representation of IV. However the title works into the focus of the album, it’s obvious that it will be important.
3. Several Artists Have Teased Their Involvement In the Album
Due to the cryptic nature of the album, there’s no shortage of theories and speculations that can arise. That being said, a few artists and long time collaborators of Jay reposted the “4:44” image on their Instagram accounts, implying that the chances are high we could see them making a guest appearance. Among these artists are Memphis Bleek, the veteran emcee who got his start with Jay and Roc-a-Fella Records in 1996. During this time, he and Jay traded bars on classic songs like “It’s Alright” (1998), “What You Think of That” (1999), and “Dear Summer” (2005). Longtime Roc-a-Fella fans delight at seeing these two vets back together.
Swizz Beatz also posted a picture of him and Jay Instagram with the caption “Album ModeZone,” and given the songs that he and Jay have made together– namely, “On To the Next One” (2009) and “So Appalled” (2010)– it’s a safe bet to assume we could hear some new Swizzy production.
The most popular theory involving the album, however, is that it could be the long-awaited collaborative album between Jay and Beyoncé. Fans have been clamoring for a husband-and-wife equivalent of Jay’s album with Kanye West, Watch the Throne (2011), and given the success that they’ve had on singles like “Crazy In Love” (2003), “Deja Vu” (2006) and “Drunk In Love” (2014), it’s understandable why. Throw in the “4” motif and there seems to be plenty that backs up one up.
4. It Will Be Released On Tidal
Jay-Z acquired Tidal in 2015 as a means of earning more money-per-stream for its artists– among which included Rihanna, Kanye West, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Daft Punk, J. Cole, Calvin Harris, Jack White and Beyoncé. Each of these artists’ discographies are available to stream on Tidal, which comes in two separate price ranges, $9.99 per month and $19.99 per month.
The former comes with standard music quality, as well as access to videos exclusive to Tidal. Those who can’t wait to hear Jay’s new material when it comes out would be best off opting for the $9.99 package, as it comes with a 30 day free trial. For those who don’t care to maintain their subscription, all you need to do is cancel before your free trial has expired, and you will not be charged. The $19.99 package comes with high definition music quality, plus the additional perks that come with exposure to Tidal artists.
5. There Is Not Set Release Date
With this Tidal release in mind, there doesn’t appear to be a confirmed release date for the album anytime soon. The “4:44” theory seemed promising, and many fans were convinced that it would arrive at said time on the East Coast. Of course, this didn’t happen, and Twitter had a field day with that fact, as you can see below:
One dedicated fan isn’t giving up hope, and has even decided to stay up until 4:44 a.m. to see if Hov makes good on his claim.
Whatever the case, it’s safe to assume that the King of New York has got something new for his fans, and we’ll be getting it sooner than later. Heavy will update as additional information becomes available.