Twitter, at its worst, is a website that is dragging down our national discourse and could even lead to the downfall of human civilization as we know it. Twitter at its best, however, is the place where great minds come together to solve pop culture’s greatest mysteries. On Wednesday morning, one Twitterer/detective uncovered a piece of evidence that might have cracked the meaning behind the title of Jay Z’s latest album, 4:44.
The beating of Jay Z’s ass per Solange that @StephenOssola is referring to is, of course, the infamous elevator incident that occurred after the 2014 Met Gala at the Standard Hotel in New York City, the video of which was leaked by TMZ, resulted in the firing of at least one hotel employee, and has been studied as closely as the Zapruder film. This same incident is also referenced on 4:44’s opening track.
The tweet is somewhat misleading, as the Standard’s listed address is 848 Washington Street, but a bar located in the Standard, Le Bain—an 18th-floor rooftop bar that Solange is known to frequent—has 444 West 13th St. as its listed address. On top of that, the elevator where the beating of Jay Z’s ass occurred was reportedly located right outside Le Bain.
Has this Twitter user cracked the case? Maybe. For now, and most likely forever, the meaning of 4:44 will be a mystery. It’s just another theory in an ever-growing list. Many believe that the title merely refers to the significance of the number four to the Knowles-Carter family: Jay-Z’s birthday is Dec. 4, Beyoncé’s is Sept. 4, her mother’s is Jan. 4, part of their daughter’s name (Ivy) is a reference to the roman numeral IV, and the couple’s wedding anniversary is on April 4. Jay-Z, for his part, told iHeartRadio that 4:44 referred to the time in the morning he woke up to write the album’s title track, which he believes is one of the best songs he’s ever written. (Both claims seem dubious, but they are nonetheless his official explanation, which it is our duty to report.)
Regardless of whether this is the actual explanation or simply a cosmic coincidence, it really is more fun for everyone if 4:44 is a reference to Le Bain’s address. I suspect that Jay knows that, too, which is why he’s probably going to keep the mystery behind his album’s title intact.