This release shows that it is possible for veterans to change up how they operate in the game and still be a success. JAY-Z sheds a little of his armour to shoe a more complex emotional side that resonates with the listener.
The production is much less in your face but without being less powerful. Each is different from the others but still projects the correct atmosphere to enhance the message of the artist. Maybe something with a little more flair could keep a little bit of the old Jay Z alive, but with the point of this album being to get rid of that alter ego, as shown by the first track, it was a good choice not to.
The lyricism is great with JAY-Z showing that while he may have grown as a person, he has kept all his rhyming abilities. Each bar impacts well with the audience, while containing plenty of smart wordplay to increase the descriptive power. Maybe something with more aggression could add another dimension to the album, but would not fit with the overall, running theme.
The features really help this to come to life with the voices of some of the people close to the main artist lending their help. Each helps enhance the song they are on while not detracting from Jay-Z’s performance. Some more guests could help to show his level of influence in the rap game, but Jay-Z has an agenda here and doesn’t allow others to jeopardise it.
Overall, this is a great piece of work to show where JAY-Z is in his life right now. There is always a chance for the resurrection of his old self, but hopefully he continues to move forward and doesn’t fall back.