While it's not a full-blown song-for-song response to Bey's masterpiece as previously suggested, Jay's new LP does hear him making multiple references to his commitment issues and extra-martial dalliances with other women.
On opener "Kill Jay Z," Hova gets right into it, addressing the infamous elevator blow-up between himself and Bey's sister, Solange. He raps: "You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away."
To his credit, Benet (who famously cheated on Halle Berry), defended himself against the rapper's diss on Twitter this morning.
Hey yo #Jayz! Just so ya know, I got the baddest girl in the world as my wife....like right now! ✌🏾— Eric Benét (@ebenet) June 30, 2017
In case you'd forgotten, Beyoncé previously mentioned the elevator incident on the Nicki Minaj-featuring remix of "Flawless," admitting: "Of course sometimes shit go down when it's a billion dollars on an elevator."
4:44's title track, meanwhile, serves as an apology of sorts from Jay to Bey. He starts: "Look, I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman's eyes / Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song."
He then delves deeper into the couple's history, admitting that his wife grew up and matured faster than him and that it took him a long time to learn how to commit ("I wasn't ready, so I apologize / I've seen the innocence leave your eyes / I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns / 'Cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it").
The couple's first daughter Blue Ivy Carter also gets brought into the lyrical equation, with Jay mimicking his wife questions of "You did what with who?" and "You risked that for Blue?" before coming to his own conclusion that "What good is a ménage-a-trois when you have a soulmate?"
Unsurprisingly on a track called "Family Feud," his personal business gets thrust into the spotlight once again. He basically confirms Beyoncé's "Sorry" suspicions about "Becky with the good hair," spitting: "Yeah, I'll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky / A man that don't take care his family can't be rich."
We'll take Beyoncé's featured vocals on the track as a rock solid sign of forgiveness, though.
Fans of both artists have been quick to point of some of the most direct back-and-forth moments created by Jay's new songs. See some of those below.
"He trying to roll me up, I ain't picking up" - Bey ('Sorry')— Rob Devon (@IamRobDevon) June 30, 2017
"Please pick up the phone, pick up the phone" - Jay ('4:44') pic.twitter.com/VQPo05R9GT
"I promised I cried I couldn't hold. I suck at love, I need a do-over." -Jay (4:44)— . (@beyupdates_) June 30, 2017
"I made you cry when I walked away." -Bey (Sandcastles) pic.twitter.com/00B4BS9e59
If you're a Tidal subscriber (or free trial user), you can head over here to stream JAY-Z's latest effort in its entirety.
Below, watch the freshly unveiled animated video for album cut "The Story of O.J."
Order 4:44 on CD from Umusic.