NPR logo Jay Z Announces New Album, '4:44'

Just In

Jay Z Announces New Album, '4:44'

Jay Z in New York on June 14, 2016 Alo Ceballos/GC Images hide caption

toggle caption
Alo Ceballos/GC Images

Jay Z in New York on June 14, 2016

Alo Ceballos/GC Images

On the heels of his historic induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (and amid unconfirmed rumors of new arrivals to his family), Jay Z has announced his thirteenth solo studio album, 4:44, to be released on June 30.

The album was announced jointly through a Sprint promotion in partnership with Tidal and will be initially exclusive to that streaming platform. Jay Z purchased Tidal and unforgettably relaunched it in early 2015. Earlier this year, Sprint bought a $200 million stake in the streaming service, which Jay Z purchased for $56 million.

Little is known of 4:44 outside of a promising 30-second-long promotional video for the song "Adnis," below, which stars Moonlight's Mahershala Ali playing a boxer shot in high contrast, while Jay Z laments:

"Letter to my dad / that I never wrote / Speeches I prepared that I never spoke / Words on a paper that I never read / Proses never penned they stayed in my head."

The beat under Jay here is steadfastly Los Angeles, a wobbling time signature and twinkling, lush-and-frenetic instrumentation, anchored by a Lynchian vocal line. (No need to rush to Sprint and Tidal just yet, however — "Adnis," both the song and video, are still only available as a sample even to subscribers.)

In addition to offering new Sprint customers a six-month trial of Tidal's HiFi tier — which offers higher-fidelity streams than competitors, though, as we've noted before, the devices you use have a huge effect on its sonic efficacy — Sprint is using the cross-promotion to tout its 1Million Project, which will provide high school students with wireless Internet devices and unlimited access. The initiative launched a pilot program earlier this year to 4,000 students in five districts, five schools and through one non-profit initiative. There are 15 million students in public high school in the U.S. according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which means the program could eventually provide 6.6 percent of U.S. high school students with reliable web access.