Fans were going bananas during the run-up to the release of JAY-Z's 4:44 on June 30. They speculated about whether he'd respond to wife Beyoncé's depiction of his cheating ways in her 2016 visual album Lemonade (he did); They ravenously anticipated some mention of the twins the couple had welcomed earlier that month (Mr. Carter alluded to his "natural" twins). But most of all, fans were desperate to know how the album got its name. And more than a month and lots of new intel later, that curiosity persists. And thank God for that, because this theory about the meaning of JAY-Z's 4:44 will have you freaking out.
It may have seemed as though the mystery was solved when JAY told iHeartRadio the origin story of 4:44, which doubles as the name of an album track, way back when the album first came out:
... I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 a.m., to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It's the title track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written.
But then a Twitter user named Stephen Ossola visited a significant site in the Knowles-Carter story, and everything changed.
"I'm at The Standard where Solange beat Jay-Z's a** in the elevator," he posted, along with a photo of the address. "THE ADDRESS IS 444. I AM SHOOK."
Could it be? Could it be that JAY-Z would name use the title of his latest album to give a shoutout to the notorious elevator incident of 2014, leaked surveillance video of which showed Beyoncé's sister, Solange, pummeling JAY as Bey silently watched? Friends, I so, so want this to be true.
And the theory seems to hold up. According to Entertainment Tonight, 444 West 13th Street is the address of the club at the top of a Manhattan hotel called the Standard. And that hotel is home to the elevator. That's right, the elevator. (The listed address of the hotel itself, though, is 848 Washington Street, but Solange is known to hang out at the club with the 444 address, Le Bain.)
What's more JAY-Z actually references the elevator kerfuffle on the 4:44 track "Kill JAY-Z." "You egged Solange on/Knowin' all along, all you had to say you was wrong," he raps in the song, a reference widely interpreted, within the larger context of the song, as a acknowledgement that he was not always faithful in his marriage.
But Beyoncé beat her husband to the punch when it came to addressing the elevator incident in her music. In August 2014, she released a remix to her hit "Flawless" that contains the epic lyric "Of course sometimes sh-- go down, when it's a billion dollars on an elevator."
It is the elevator ride that is burned into Bey and JAY fans' psyches forever. And now, it seems that the rare uncontrolled glimpse into their personal life continues to build up their mythos even years later.