Breaking News: Meek Mill Released From Prison

40 Best Rap Albums of 2017

Migos, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and more of the year in rhymes

Load Previous
Jay-Z, '4:44'
40
3. Jay-Z, '4:44'3/40

3. Jay-Z, '4:44'

As young, self-examining artists like Lil Uzi Vert and XXXTentacion ushered in hip-hop's emo stage, a 47-year-old multi-millionaire dropped the year's best self-lacerating Bugatti-dashboard confessional. Utilizing rap's unique ability to convey deep and vivid truths, Jay confronts his own failings, excoriating himself as an unfaithful husband ("4:44") and egocentric public figure ("Kill Jay Z"). With multiple samples from Sixties firebrand Nina Simone and a chopped-up flip of Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free," Jay and producer No I.D. ease into an explicitly conscious tack as well, giving his own wealth – and the one his daughter will inherit – a political importance. C.W.

Back to Top