4:44 ROC NATION, OUT NOW Rap superstar delivers more than mere soap bubbles.
It’s been so long since Jay-Z has made a good LP, it’s tempting to dismiss the hoopla surrounding 4:44 as just another weapon of mass distraction from lukewarm content. To the nowroutine tinkering with delivery method – last time to sell Samsung phones, here Tidal subscriptions – can be added a cottage industry of speculation about his marriage to Beyoncé, much of it fuelled by her 2016 masterpiece Lemonade. Peek behind the curtain, though, and there’s a short, low-key, somewhat introspective record that’s his best in a decade. Its 10 tracks are produced by veteran Chicagoan No ID, who provides a consistently soulful feel for the rapper’s reflections on family, fatherhood and fidelity. STEVE YATES Listen To: The Story Of OJ | Caught Their Eyes | Family Feud