When the mysterious billboards bearing the number “4:44,” and nothing else, appeared in New York and Los Angeles last week, online speculators went wild, predicting that the vague advertisements had something to do with Jay Z’s newest album.
Turns out they were right.
Two days after the billboards popped up, a minute-long trailer, starring Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and Danny Glover, aired during the NBA finals and seemed to be for a non-Jay Z related project from Tidal’s new partnership with Sprint. The ad also went up online, this version featuring a snippet from Jay Z’s new song “Adnis.”
Finally, after so much theorizing, Sprint and Tidal announced on Monday that 4:44 is indeed the name of Jay Z’s new album, which is set to drop the end of this month.
This album will be the first project since Sprint acquired 33% of Jay Z’s Tidal in January. Jay Z launched the music streaming service in mid-2015. The partnership gives Sprint customers access to Tidal’s exclusive music content. Jay Z stated at the time, “Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential.”
And because the internet is so good at predicting things -- rumors began to spread that NO I.D., who had previously teamed up with Jay Z for the albums American Gangster, Blueprint 2, and Blueprint 3, would be back to produce. Billboard confirmed yesterday that No I.D. would be producing the entire album.
The announcement of the album’s upcoming release comes on the heels of some other exciting news for the hip hop mogul: his wife Beyoncé, in case you somehow missed it, gave birth to twins this weekend.
4:44 will be available exclusively to Sprint and Tidal customers on June 30.