JAY-Z Officially Announces His New Album & Shares A Preview (Audio)

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JUNE 20 UPDATE: It has now been confirmed that No I.D. is producing JAY-Z’s 4:44 in its entirety. Billboard confirmed the news. No I.D., a co-founder of group Cocaine 80s, and is best known for his work with Common, Vince Staples, and Jhene Aiko. He is a longtime Def Jam Records A&R executive and the founder of the ARTium imprint.

Previously, No I.D. and Jay have made some significant tracks, including 2007’s “Success” (with Nas), 2009’s “D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune),” and “Run This Town” with Rihanna and Kanye West, whom he mentored.

No I.D. previously produced almost all of Common’s first three albums: Can I Borrow A Dollar?, Resurrection, and One Day It’ll All Make Sense. He previously was a solo artist on Relativity Records in the late 1990s, where he released one album.

ORIGINAL JUNE 19 STORY: After great speculation earlier this month, it turns out that the 4:44 ads online and in physical locations are in fact related to JAY-Z’s (as it is now officially stylized) 13th album. That apparent title has been applied to both a Hov LP as well as a film believed to be of the same name starring Oscar award-winning actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, House Of Cards) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, 2012). According to the latest ads, both will release on June 30.

Digital trailers feature a snippet of new JAY-Z music set against the film. In the black-and-white clip, Ali plays a boxer, while Glover is the trainer.

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Late on Fathers Day (June 18), this clip posted online. Jay’s lyrics are: “Letter to my dad that I never wrote / Speeches I prepared that I never spoke / Words on a paper that I never read / Proses never penned, they stayed in my head.” There is a sparse piano and choral track underneath:

According to AllHipHop, the song title is “Adnis.” As listeners of “December 4th” may recall, comes from the name of JAY-Z’s father, Adnis Reeves. The man had reportedly abandoned Jay’s family before the would be mogul was an adolescent. He died in 2003. In many song lyrics, Jay raps about the absence of his father causing profound pain and anger for much of his adolescence and adult life.

It is presently unclear if the film is a visual companion to an album, or if the two items are more loosely tied together. Per the ads, the projects will be exclusive to Tidal, with access also available to Sprint users. In January of this year, Tidal sold a stake to the veteran cellular carrier.

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Jay’s wife Beyoncé (who gave birth to the couple’s twins over the weekend) released her 2016 Lemonade LP with a complete visual component. In 2007, Jay made a concept album partially inspired by the American Gangster movie. The Denzel Washington film released four days ahead of Jay’s 10th effort. It also used “Ain’t No Love” in its ad campaigns.

This is the second consecutive album from Jay to be tied into a mobile device or carrier. His last album, 2013’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail was released as a partnership with Samsung. Four days after its limited release, the Roc Nation/Def Jam album was made available for sale in the traditional capacity. It subsequently reached #1.

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In recent years, JAY-Z has had an increased interest in film. While he and Dame Dash made a number of titles during their Roc-A-Fella years, Jay has a recent film development deal with the Weinstein Company. As a result, he produced TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, which aired on Spike.

Jay has been particularly tight-lipped about his album. Producer Swizz Beatz, who has worked on the previous three JAY-Z albums, recently suggested the 20-year collaborative pair were in “album mode.”

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4:44 is less than two weeks away.