Jay-Z’s thirteenth studio opus 4:44 stirred much excitement when he released it to the hip-hop masses on Friday (June 30), but also much curiosity. Did Jay actually admit to cheating on his mega songstress wife of nine years, Beyoncé? Where does his relationship with his brother-in-rhyme Kanye West stand? What really went down in that elevator incident with his sister-in-law, Solange?
But among all of these burning inquiries, the album’s executive producer No I.D. has helped us move closer to the question of how the entire album came about, courtesy of the Queen Bey herself.
In an interview with New York Times, the Godfather of Chicago Hip-Hop spoke candidly of the album’s creation. After explaining one of the project’s hottest topics, Jay’s mother coming out as gay on the “Smile” single, questions segued into Bey’s influence on 4:44. No I.D. dubbed her the “de facto A&R,” revealing that her approval was among the highest priorities.
“I always call Bey our de facto A&R,” he shared in the interview. “Pillow talk is the strongest conversation on the planet. Every song has to get past her ears, in my eyes. She came by a lot and played a good part in helping us get over hurdles on certain records. Of course she’s genius-level with that.”
Bey’s vocals can be found gracing the Black family-unifying sixth single, “Family Feud,” as well. Following Jay’s apologetic ode to her just one track earlier on “4:44,” the single speaks to some of the issues she touched on in her Lemonade undertaking about the value of relationships, family and togetherness.
Read more details about the construction of Jay’s 4:44 in No I.D’s full interview here.
(Photo: Noel Vasquez/GC Images)