Jay-Z's new album is racking up column inches for more than just its musical content.
'4:44' was released last Friday via the rapper's TIDAL streaming service, and most people immediately latched on to the fact that several of the album's tracks appear to acknowledge the infidelity that was strongly hinted at on Beyoncé's album 'Lemonade' last year.
There's also his dig at one-time friend and ally Kanye West, as well as his accusations of Prince's estate as being 'greedy f**ks' - but one track that has been getting more praise and attention than most is 'Smile'.
On it, he reveals that his mother Gloria Carter is a lesbian with the line "Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take / Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her."
Carter also participates in the song, contributing a spoken word verse about 'living in the shadows', which sees her recite the below monologue:
"Living in the shadow. Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? In the shadows people see you as happy and free, because that's what you want them to see. Living two lifes, happy but not free. You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or someone you love. TRhe world is changing and they say it's time to be free. But you live with the fear of just being me. Living in the shadow feels like the safe place to be. No harm for them, no harm for me. But life is short, and it's time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn't guaranteed."
Both Carter and her son have been roundly praised for the song:
Jay Z talking about his mom being a lesbian pic.twitter.com/lJsJCXWmCt
— Jeff (@JayJazzi) June 30, 2017
Jay Z, rapping about his mother being a lesbian on his album is something that I never ever thought he'd do.
In awe of the raw content ??
— LoveLifeLoveCass (@LoveCass_) June 30, 2017
Listening to Jay Z - Smile and barely finding out Jays mom is a lesbian...then hearing the poem Gloria Carter recites at the end. TRUTH! pic.twitter.com/ntgK68pa0i
— Griselda Negro (@LaBellaREDDsayz) June 30, 2017
Jay Z wrote a whole song about how proud he is of his lesbian mom ???
— jj (@jeremiahsalive) June 30, 2017
I can't even front, SMILE is my favorite song right now! Thanks Jay Z and Gloria Carter!! pic.twitter.com/ALENo4jONC
— Mr. Weeks (@MrDane1982) June 30, 2017
Wait ALL RESPECT TO GLORIA CARTER ??? IM CRYING #444
— Johnny Debt (@John_E_Monroe) June 30, 2017
Today's daily cry: driving in my car, listening to Jay Z rap about his gay mom finding love
— Brit Bennett (@britrbennett) June 30, 2017
Everything about "Smile" is perfect. What Jay Z says about his mom's struggle, what Gloria Carter says about her experience. It hits hard. pic.twitter.com/GQhl8H2GBC
— Ben Frank (@BenFrankIV) June 30, 2017