A mysterious advertisement for a Jay-Z project entitled “4;44” that aired at the NBA finals last night adds to the mystery surrounding Jay-Z’s new album and Tidal’s mysterious “4:44” campaign and connects the campaign to Beyonce’s equally cryptic video build-up to her most recent album Lemonade.
The Mystery of 4:44
Let’s back up to several days ago, when SPIN writes that a number of cryptic and utterly perplexing banners reading “4:44” began to appear on the homepages of multiple hip hop oriented or culture websites in the spaces where the ads usually are. The “4:44” banners didn’t link to anything; they were just solid beige sheets with the figure “4:44” stamped on them in black serriffed print.
Naturally, this peaked users’ curiosity. Some of the more tech-savvy ones dug into the code of the banners, and they found that the URL for the banners contains the phrase “tidal-444.” Tidal is Jay-Z’s music streaming service.
The beige logo was also found in a physical format in one New York City subway station, the one located on Jay Street.
New Yorkers and web-surfing hip hop fans who read the news put two and two together (no pun intended) and realized that Jay-Z was related to both instances. Those observant enough to make this connection also realized that a new Jay-Z album is due out sooner rather than later, and they postulated that maybe the term “4:44” has a connection to the album.
The connection goes even deeper, too. Reddit user Youngkippur points out that Jay-Z and his wife, Beyonce, have the Roman numeral “IV” (which is equivalent to four) tattooed on their ring fingers.
He also notes that the couple’s daughter is named Blue Ivy, and “Ivy” is the phoenetic “IV.” Again, that is four. As in “4:44.”
Scare_crowe94, another user on the same Reddit thread, adds that “Blue Ivy,” through that same “Ivy=4” logic, could easily refer to “The Blueprint 4.” Is it possible Jay-Z’s new album might be his continuation of his career-defining Blueprint 1, 2, and 3 albums?
Last Night’s Video Reveal
A short clip played last night at the NBA finals gave confused hip hop fans more of an insight into the cryptic “4:44,” but it did not answer many questions.
The video is a 62-second long movie teaser. The first 55 seconds shows a black-and-white video of a boxer portrayed by Mahershala Ali beating up a punching bag held by his trainer, played by Danny Glover. The last few seconds of the trailer flash some black text on the screen that confirms the movie (or whatever it is) will star Ali and Glover as well as Lupita Nyong’o, says the project is by Tidal and Sprint, and gives the video’s rating: NC-17.
The teaser never mentions Jay-Z’s name, so it’s probably not a music video. Although the haunting smooth melody that played throughout the video was very similar to the beat for a Jay-Z song.
The Lemonade Connection
Even those who are not Beyonce fans will probably recall the very-highly hyped lead-up to the announcement of her April 2016 album Lemonade, documented by Attitude. The trailers for the album-video hybrid contained a lot of slow-motion or black and white footage, just like this mysterious “4:44” trailer. Watch the two trailers, both embedded below, and the similarity is impossible to deny.
Wouldn’t it make total sense if Jay-Z’s new album were to mirror the mystery-shrouded video-album approach of Mrs. Carter’s most recent offering?
Again, none of this is confirmed. It’s not even a sure thing “4:44” has anything to do with Jay-Z, although the evidence all but confirms it. So take this with a grain of salt.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure reports on Twitter that he will be revealing something more about the “4:44” project later today. This page will be updated with any new information as it develops, so check back to find out what is coming.
In the meantime, do you think “4:44” will be the name of Jay-Z’s new album? Make yourself heard in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]