More than five years after Jay-Z released 4:44. Kim Burrell has revealed the truth behind the album’s titular track and how she ended up as a feature on the song.
In an October interview with We Sound Crazy that recently surfaced, the gospel singer revealed that Jay-Z called her on the phone and requested to meet because her music helped his wife through a difficult time in her life. According to Burrell, Jay said Beyoncé would lock herself in a room and listen to nothing but Kim Burrell for 11 hours just to feel better.
“At the time, I didn’t know it was going to be the name of the record but he called me and said, ‘Hey, my wife is going through it. I always know because I hear you playing in the background,’” she recalled. “He’s like, ‘My wife locked up in there for 11 hours and I heard nothing but Kim Burrell for 11 hours.’”
Burrell explained that Jay-Z called her to say that he just had to meet the woman who lifted his wife’s spirits.
“He’s like, ‘Here’s why I’m calling you. When she came out, she was better.’ He said she was so much better. He says, ‘I’m calling you because I need to have a meeting with the person that made my wife better.’”
Following the conversation, Kim said that she flew out to him and met him at the studio where he recorded 4:44. Though her intention wasn’t to appear on the album, she wound up providing background vocals for the highly emotional track, which served as Jay-Z’s public apology to Beyoncé for his infidelities.
Back in 2017, shortly after the album dropped, Jay-Z explained 4:44 is one of the best songs he’s ever written.
“‘4:44’ is a song that I wrote, and it’s the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 AM, to write this song,” Jay-Z told iHeart Radio. “So it became the title of the album and everything. It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”
Checkout a clip from the interview below.