The thing people were most anticipating about Jay-Z’s new album, “4:44,” is how it responds to his wife Beyonce’s accusations of infidelity on her last record, “Lemonade.” Turns out, though, the lyrics causing the biggest kerfuffle on the new collection – issued Friday exclusively via Tidal and Sprint – are lines written in response to former and current handlers of the Prince estate.
In the Nina Simone-sampling song “Caught their Eyes,” featuring a guest appearance by Frank Ocean, the real-life Shawn Carter calls out entertainment lawyer Londell McMillan by name, questions the remaking of Paisley Park into a museum and throws the words “you greedy bastards” at the estate handlers.
His beef with the estate and its power brokers extends from an ongoing legal dispute over exclusive rights to a good chunk of Prince’s catalog, which Jay-Z claims was given to his streaming company Tidal by Prince himself before his death last year. However, McMillan and other representatives for Prince’s family worked out deals with Spotify, Apple and other streaming companies, thus giving Tidal the shaft.
“I sat down with Prince, eye to eye,” Jay-Z raps in the song. “He told me his wishes before he died / Now, Londell McMillan, he must be color blind / They only see green from them purple eyes.”
And there’s more: “This guy had ‘slave’ on his face / You think he wanted the masters with his masters? / You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house/ I’m surprised you ain’t auction off the casket.”
McMillan, whse work with the estate has also been questioned by some of Prince’s siblings, already responded to the lyrical accusations through Billboard, telling a reporter at the magazine, “I like the beat, but I wonder who he thinks helped Prince to take 'slave' off of his face. It was a homie Jay Z grew up with in the same neighborhood, Londell McMillan.”