Essence
July 07, 2017 4:00 pm

Released just last week, JAY-Z’s latest album, 4:44, is already being praised as his best and most personal album.

Released June 30, 4:44 went platinum in just three days and the first video from the album, “The Story of O.J.” has already been released.

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Inspired by O.J. Simpson’s memorable line, “I’m not Black, I’m O.J.,” “The Story of O.J.” follows a Disney-inspired animation of Jay as he walks through America’s racist past, while rapping about its present. An animated Josephine Baker and Nina Simone, whose song “Four Women” is sampled on the track appear in the video as well.

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As Jay explores America’s history, he raps about Black people’s image in America —that no matter our social standing, the money we make, the ladders we climb, we will always be seen as n—gas in the eyes of many.

In “Footnotes for ‘The Story of O.J.’,” a mini documentary that features interviews from Chris Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Mahershala Ali, Will Smith, and Michael B. Jordan, Jay says, “We tend to, as black people — because we never had anything, which is understandable — we get to a place, and we just think we separate ourselves from the culture.”

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“O.J. would get to a space where he’s like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ Like Tiger Woods would get to a space and think, ‘I’m above the culture.’ And that same person when he’s playing golf and playing great, you’re protected. When you’re not, they’re gonna put pictures of you drunk driving and, like, embarrass you. That world will eat you up and spit you out.”

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