Sprint & Jay Z Announce Mysterious New Album ‘4:44’
Musician, husband, father, and business mogul Jay Z is having quite the week. Having welcomed twins with his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, on Sunday, the rapper has now announced that he will be releasing a new album, titled 4:44. The album will drop on June 30, exclusively on Tidal.
Several weeks ago, mysterious billboards and subway ads began to appear with just the numbers “4:44” in large text against a salmon colored background. It was initially rumored that the numbers referred to a short film staring Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danny Glover. The film was expected to appear exclusively on Tidal, Jay Z’s streaming service.
Now, in collaboration with Sprint, it has been announced that in addition to the short film, Jay Z will be releasing an album of the same name, his first since 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.
On Father’s Day, Sprint posted a teaser trailer for the album and film on their YouTube page.
In the clip, Ali can be seen boxing, training and hitting a punching bag in an otherwise empty gym. A new song from Jay Z plays in the background.
“Letter to my dad that I never wrote / Speeches I prepared that I never spoke / Words on a paper that I never read / Proses never penned / They stay in my head,” Jay Z raps over a piano, snares, and a distorted female vocalist.
While the album will be exclusive to Tidal, Sprint customers will also have access to the rapper’s new album, as per a new deal in which Sprint bought 33 percent of the streaming service.
As part of the deal, Sprint is offering its customers a complimentary six-month trail of Tidal.
“Today is an exciting day to be a Sprint customer,” Sprint president and CEO Marcelo Claure said as part of a statement announcing the impending release. “JAY-Z is a global icon and we’re giving customers and incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44. Our loyal, existing customers, and customers who switch to Sprint, can experience the album exclusively, plus access a complimentary six-month trail of TIDAL HiFi, giving them access to content they can’t get anywhere else.”
It is unclear at this point whether or not the album will be made available on other streaming services, online music stores, or if there will ever be a physical release. The rapper has drawn the ire of fans in the past over his music’s exclusivity. Earlier this year, he pulled nearly all of his music from Spotify and Apple Music.
4:44 will also mark the second time Jay Z has partnered with a phone company to give their customers exclusive access to his music – Magna Carta Holy Grail was first made available only for Samsung customers.
In promotion of the new album, Jay Z will perform several shows this summer including his Made In America show, Austin City Limits, and the Meadows Music and Arts Festival.