A review from Ambrosia for Heads.
The more details that emerge about JAY-Z’s 4:44 album, the more it becomes clear that the album is a reflection of all aspects of the veteran MC. The lyrical content delves more deeply into the mind of Shawn Carter than perhaps any of his earlier work. Jay peels back his veneer and speaks on everything from his family life to his life philosophies. The music is also deeply personal to Jay. Part of his process in constructing the LP with No I.D., 4:44‘s sole producer, was providing him a list of some of the song’s that were most meaningful to Jay in his life travels.
Beyond the musical elements of the album, Jay also has created visual components that document his process. He has been releasing these on a weekly basis (a week early on TIDAL), and the latest is for “Bam,” JAY-Z’s song featuring Damian Marley. The song is anchored in a sample of Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam.”
In the video, Jay is shown touring the home of Reggae legend Bob Marley with Damian, Marley’s son. The experience has a truly profound experience on Jay, who says “It was really powerful for me when I came here. This is music I listened to my whole life. My mom and dad, they collected records and they just played music all the time. Bob was like a major source in our house. I turned into a kid when I came here.”
In one of the clip’s highlights, Jay meets Sister Nancy, herself, the inspiration for “Bam.” She is shown in the studio, flipping the lyrics of her classic, and discussing how she made it. “That’s freestyle, ‘Bam Bam’,” she reveals. “I didn’t write it.”
As with the music of 4:44, the visuals humanize JAY-Z. His previous release for the album’s title song showed tender moments with his wife, Beyonce, as he bared his soul about his shortcomings in their relationship. With “Bam,” we see JAY-Z the music fan enjoying conversations with those who influenced him. The life and times of Shawn Carter have never been on fuller display.