The album — Jay-Z’s first since “Magna Carta ...
Holy Grail” in 2013 — features 10 intensely personal and provocative tracks that, yes, include a few references to the marriage-baring “Lemonade” album by his wife, Beyoncé, and the recent birth of their twins.
As part of a deal with Sprint, the cellphone carrier, which bought a one-third stake in Tidal this year, “4:44” was made available only to those who had subscribed to Tidal before the album’s release, along with existing Sprint customers.
Tidal, which trails in the streaming race dominated by Spotify and Apple Music, has relied largely on splashy exclusives from its artist partners to encourage sign-ups, making itself the first — and, in some cases, only — place to hear new music from Kanye West, Rihanna and Beyoncé, whose “Lemonade” has remained a Tidal exclusive since its release in April 2016.
The track “The Story of O.J.,” which comes with a potentially incendiary video on Tidal directed by Mark Romanek and Jay-Z, is about “having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward,” the rapper said on the radio.