In his early work, Jay-Z explored the virtues of excellence, longed for the glory of celebrity lifestyle, and discussed exactly what it means to be great. Now, over 20 years since the release of his acclaimed debut Reasonable Doubt, the hip hop veteran is recognized as a defining visionary in the history of rap music. With his innovative flow and inimitable swagger, Jay-Z achieved a state of excellence that is unprecedented for rappers of his era.
One of the best-selling artists of all time, the Roc Nation founder has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Truly, only one word comes to mind when assessing Jay-Z’s career: legend.
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In his youth, Jay-Z faced his fair share of adversity. Raised in poverty and abandoned by his father, the Brooklyn native regularly faced hails of bullets, as well as sold crack cocaine to get by. And yet, throughout this tumultuous period, the rapper found comfort in the power of music – he freestyled, wrote lyrics, and sold CDs from his car. When Reasonable Doubt was released in 1996, the hardened artist was catapulted to the pinnacle of fame. Indeed, the album – which was critically acclaimed and attained number 23 on the Billboard 200 with little promotion – cemented Jay-Z as the most masterful lyricist in rap. A star was born.
Since then, the King of Rap has continued to dominate the music scene. With his poignant vocal delivery and integral beats, Jay-Z crafted beloved albums such as 1998’s Vol.2… Hard Knock Life, 2001’s The Blueprint, and 2003’s The Black Album. In addition, he produced timeless classics such as “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”, “99 Problems”, and “Empire State of Mind”. Due to his unparalleled dedication and penchant for working with only the finest producers, the rapper built a reputation defined by success and commendation, as demonstrated by his 21 Grammy Awards.
Now, Jay-Z has returned with his intensely personal 4:44. Released on June 30, Jay-Z’s thirteenth studio effort is an unexpected masterpiece from a rapper who has been in the game for over two decades. On the sample-heavy album, Jay-Z addresses private topics like his infidelity with Beyoncé (explored on her 2016 release Lemonade) and his recent feud with Kanye West. In doing so, the entrepreneur reasserts his relevance and exhibits a facet to his personality that has never been explored before. While much of modern rap is concerned with pompous boasts of lavish lifestyles, Jay-Z turns the tables by dissecting his fallacies and vulnerabilities. As a result, thanks to 4:44, Jay-Z has once again become the most interesting rapper in the world.
To promote 4:44, Jay-Z will embark on a 31-date tour that will visit Canadian venues such as Montreal’s Bell Centre, Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Edmonton’s Rogers Place, and Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. Jay-Z always provides top-notch entertainment that’s a step above the rest – as such, this tour should not be missed under any circumstances.
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