4:44 ROC NA­TION, OUT NOW Rap su­per­star de­liv­ers more than mere soap bub­bles.

Q (UK) - - Q Review New Albums -

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

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