This is the best album of the year. Not in a very long time have I seen, or rather heard, a hip hop album that channels such raw emotion. Do you know what the last hip hop album this raw was either To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar or Illmatic by Nas. Yes. I am comparing a 2017 hip hop album with Illmatic.
Each track is absolutely amazing, and is a million levels ahead of his previous work. I spent 17 dollars on this CD just so I could listen to it, and I don't regret it one bit. It feels so human, and it is finally a mainstream hip hop album that's not about partying, but instead about the artists personal life, delivered through the lyrical expertise of someone with 13 albums to date. This is what I want from hip-hop. Not Kanye West or Drake's emotionless dancehall songs that will never be considered as pure artistry. This album is the antithesis of the trendy, conformist garbage that dominates the charts. It is an album about real life, about real issues and problems and about the real Jay-Z.
I highly recommend this album to any fan of soul, rap or hip hop, because this is Jay-Z's finest hour, and this album is an amazingly produced look into what hip-hop, and all music should be. People say it's for hardcore Jay-Z fans, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It is completely different from the black album or blueprint, and it couldn't be a better entry point into amazing hip hop albums.
The music videos are another amazing feature of this album. My favourite of the current videos is the 4: 44 video, a 9 minute long art-film style thing, which is on YouTube now and I URGE you to watch it. It's amazing.
Anyway, time for the score.
Along with Blackstar, The Suburbs and Skeleton Tree, one of the best albums of the decade.