The Knowles-Carter family opened their front door a little further Friday morning. More than a year since the debut of Beyoncé’s Lemonade — the queen’s opus full of infidelity allusions, laments for love lost, and praise for love won back again — JAY-Z is sharing his side of the story, and the plot points are pretty are much the same.
“Yeah I’ll f— up a good thing if you let me,” the rapper admits halfway through his new album 4:44 on “Family Feud.” He goes on to reference “Becky with the good hair,” the moniker Beyoncé allegedly coined for her husband’s other woman in “Sorry”: “Let me alone Becky,” JAY-Z raps.
Elsewhere he compares himself to Halle Berry’s former flame, who allegedly lost the Oscar-winning actress due to his own philandering — “You almost went Eric Benét/ Let the baddest girl in the world get away,” he raps on “Kill JAY-Z,” — and, on the same track, even touches on the power dynamics of that infamous elevator incident. Speaking to himself he drops the line, “You egged Solange on/ Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong.”
On the LP’s title track, the recent Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee seems to confirm fans’ suspicions that Becky is a bevy of side-chicks all rolled into one punchy name. “I apologize, often womanize,” he cuts. “Took for my child to be born/ See through a woman’s eyes/ Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/ Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you.”
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He adds: “And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do/ If they ain’t look at me the same/ I would prob’ly die with all the shame/ “You did what with who?”/ What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate?/ “You risked that for Blue?”
The stunning admissions aren’t reserved to just his formerly wandering eye. Also on the title track, the 47-year-old mourns past miscarriages — “I’ve seen the innocence leave your eyes/ I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns/ ‘Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it” — and even recalls the ego-driven way he became exclusive with Bey: “Said, ‘Don’t embarrass me,’ instead of ‘Be mine’/ That was my proposal for us to go steady/ That was your 21st birthday, you mature faster than me/ I wasn’t ready, so I apologize.”