Magazine article The Spectator

The Listener: Jay-Z's 4.44

Magazine article The Spectator

The Listener: Jay-Z's 4.44

Article excerpt

Grade: B -

All criticism is pointless, I suppose, given the sheer magnitude of the Shawn Corey Carter machine -- his billions of dollars, his millions of sales, his ubiquity. This is the rapper even whitey can git down to, big pal of the Obamas, bad-ass Bedford-Stuyvesant gangsta made good. But even when Jay-Z and the genre have been comprehensively subsumed by the mainstream, there is still stuff about it that grates. Not the familiar homophobia or the championing of criminality. Not even the misogyny -- hell, if it's misogyny you're after, check out The Eagles. Crackers do misogyny just as vigorously. It's the relentless, self-obsessed, cock-clutching braggadocio -- and, when it's not braggadocio, whining. Gimme Respec' victimhood doggerel, devoid of nuance and, mostly, of wit.

The album is called 4.44 because that's the time Shawn woke up one night and all these words spewed out of him. …

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