JAY-Z released his 13th album, 4:44, this morning and teamed up with iHeartMedia for a special premiere event of the record. Beginning today at 12:01 a.m. ET June 30, iHeartMedia, in conjunction with TIDAL X Sprint, is playing the full album with an exclusive 35-minute Album Roadblock on more than 160 Pop, Rhythm and Urban iHeart stations. The album will continue to play across iHeartMedia’s Urban and Rhythm formats until 12:01 a.m. ET July 1.
“We have a long history of partnering with JAY-Z in innovative ways, and he was one of the artists to join our first-ever iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2011,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman/CEO iHeartMedia Inc, in a statement. “He’s once again proved that he’s a true innovator, and we are honored to partner with him on the historic launch of his first album in over four years. Our nationwide world premiere of 4:44 will reach tens of millions of JAY’s fans across the country – while creating millions of new ones.”
Jay also discussed every song on 4:44 in an exclusive interview for iHeartRadio. The rapper/mogul pointed out that “Kill JAY-Z” is “not to be taken literal. It’s really about the ego. It’s about killing off the ego, so we can have this conversation in a place of vulnerability and honesty.” The new song “Moonlight” was inspired by the Oscar Best Picture mishap between La La Land & Moonlight. Jay says that “It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”
A video for “The Story of OJ,” co-directed by JAY-Z and Mark Romanek, was released in conjunction with 4:44 this morning as well. Jay says the track “is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”
Another notable song on 4:44 is “Smile,” where Jay’s mother Gloria Carter comes out as a lesbian. After Jay a verse where raps, “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” his mother appears on the track herself. Carter delivers a spoken word monologue on “Smile” where she declares “life is short, and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.”
4:44 is currently available exclusively via TIDAL and Sprint.