JAY-Z's new album 4:44 has been popularly heralded as a response to Beyoncé's landmark fifth album Lemonade, but in particular, it's been pored over for its references to relationship infidelity. But according to the rapper's album producer, nothing on the new album has been recorded without Queen Bey's explicit approval.
In an interview with the New York Times, producer No I.D. spoke about the honor of being the first producer to solo produce a Jay-Z album. But while speaking about that process, No I.D. (Dion Wilson) also addressed the idea of 4:44 in context of Lemonade, and Bey's direct involvement with the entire project.
"One that I didn't see him record that really hit me was obviously '4:44'," Wilson shared. "Me, him, and Guru, his [recording] engineer, knew that we didn't want him to do an album of Lemonade response. We just wanted him to respond and then let it be and still touch on other things. I created that beat to box him into telling that story."
"I put the sample from the singer Hannah Williams—it starts off with, 'I find it so hard/When I know in my heart/I'm letting you down everyday.' I remember him hearing it and looking at me like, 'Okay, fine'."
Speaking directly about Beyoncé, Wilson said, "I always call Bey our de facto A&R. Pillow talk is the strongest conversation on the planet. Every song has to get past her ears, in my eyes. She came by a lot and played a good part in helping us get over hurdles on certain records. Of course she's genius-level with that."
Of course. It's clear that Bey and Jay are in conversation about their musical releases, and the conversation around 4:44 just shows how deep it actually is, through personal and professional trials.
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