Complex wrote a piece about the significance of the number 4 in Jay-Z’s life. But as appreciators of astrology and numerology we decided to dive deeper into the meaning behind 4:44 and the metaphysical concept known as numerology. Since the number 4 is said to carry themes of dependability, predictability, worry, problem-solving, detail-orientation and trustworthiness we sent writer Shirley Ju to Jay-Z's LA show to see how those traits were portrayed live.
Written By: Shirley Ju
January 29, 2018
I went to see JAY-Z, the G.O.A.T, in the flesh for his #444Tour. I don’t care what anyone says: if you’re not a fan of Hov, you’re not a fan of Hip-Hop. He’s a legend who started the Roc Nation empire. Currently, it is being held up on a pedestal thanks to Jay-Z and his prodigy Rihanna. Although she didn’t make an appearance on stage at the last stop of the #444Tour, but she was seen dancing in a little black dress on Instagram.
When show night rolled around, I was excited to see the opener, Vic Mensa, even popped-up in every major city. I knew about Jay-Z’s connection to the number 4 because he was born on December 4th and even penned a song of the same name back in 2004. But with 4:44, I knew there was something more meaningful because he married his wife on April 4 and even named his first-born daughter, Blue Ivy after the roman number (IV).
Because of this I was excited to see how he subtly integrated these elements into his show. The first interaction I had with the themes of 4:44 happened before Jay-Z even hit the stage thanks to Vic Mensa. As he made his way to the mic he was also backed by an entire band and I noticed how detail-oriented the entire stage setup was.
I say this not only because I love Vic’s music, but because his music has so much meaning and purpose. Then the theme of predictability was presented because, just as predicted, tonight’s show was already proving itself to be one of the best Hip-Hop shows of the year.
Vic Mensa is also PHENOMENAL live. His performance of “U Mad” featuring Kanye West said it all. And yet, he’s here opening for JAY-Z and using his voice to speak about issues in the world as well as his hometown of Chicago.
As his set progressed he performed songs from his latest project, “Autobiography” and the theme of worry became apparent. The speakers projected the sound of a man desperately gasping for air and Vic Mensa reminded us of the worry police brutality brings to victims’ families.
The trustworthy theme is highlighted during the tumultuous relationship he had with a woman he doesn’t trust, “All these years and you gone string me like that / like a puppet in Gepetto and you know I’ma snap.” Before leaving the stage he performed “We Could Be Free,” which he released the music video for as part of his discussion at Into Action on MLK Day.
9:45pm rolled around and all of a sudden a split screen display hovered over the entire floor — Jay-Z's set had begun. The first song he performed was “Kill Jay Z,” the first track on 4:44. Talk about dependability, this record laid down the foundation for the entire project and includes Jay-Z rapping about not being a dependable father to Blue and husband to Beyoncé. On 4:44, he tried to rectify his wrongs through his music; his family is still in tact so clearly he succeeded.
Then we were blessed with the classics because Jay-Z has hits for days. This was one of those shows where he only needed to play a snippet from each song because he had so many hits. Bringing in the theme of practicality, Hov needed to play more than just 4:44. There was no way he would leave the "day ones" hanging: “No Church In The Wild,” “Lucier,” “Run This Town” featuring Rihanna, “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” featuring Rick Ross…the list goes on and on.
Then there was a “Free Meek Mill” shout out that highlighted his feelings about America’s criminal justice system. During an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times he stated that, “What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”
Then “Empire State of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys blasted through the Forum and he brought the crowd back to a positive perspective — we needed it. This was followed an adorable freestyle by Blue Ivy who was not on stage, but best believe she was in attendance. As the show came to a close, Jay-Z shared a motivational speech. Since I was going through a rough time in my own life it really felt like JAY-Z was speaking directly to me: