There's little doubt after only a few hours of digesting his latest album, 4:44, that this is JAY-Z's most personal album to date. It's like listening to the man's diary, as he talks about lessons learned from cheating on his wife, Beyoncé, the kind of father he wants to be for his children, his relationships with Kanye West and Prince, and his billionaire status, and what that all means when he still lives in a society that has repeatedly proven that black lives mean little to nothing.

But one of the most poignant moments on the album, produced entirely by No I.D., comes on "Smile," when JAY-Z's mom basically comes out of the closet on wax.

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” Jay raps at the end of the first verse. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was too much to take/Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her/I just wanna see you smile through all the hate/Marie Antoinette, baby, let ’em eat cake.”

His mom, Gloria Carter, delivers the outro.

“Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?/In the shadows people see you as happy and free/Because that’s what you want them to see/Living two lives, happy, but not free.”

You can listen to 4:44 in its entirety here.


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