Update, June 19, 10:20 a.m. ET:
Sprint announced today (June 19) that “4:44” is the title of Jay-Z’s new album, the first of several exclusive offers for Sprint and Tidal customers. The company released a video via YouTube revealing “4:44’s” exclusive June 30 release via Tidal and Sprint.Tidal.com.
The mystery began Tuesday (June 6) with ads that read “4:44” appearing in New York City and online:
Jay Z is rumoured to be releasing an album titled “4:44” pic.twitter.com/Bkc2jG7oy0— Plug Society (@ThePlugSociety) June 6, 2017
Complex reported that Kanye West-loving forum KanyeToThe.com traced one online ad’s source code back to Jay-Z’s Tidal, which prompted speculation that the entrepreneur was announcing a new album or the birth of his twins with wife Beyoncé.
But Tidal and Sprint, which The Verge notes purchased a third of the streaming company’s shares in January, had something else in mind. They teased the project with an elusive black-and-white ad during last night’s (June 7) NBA Finals game. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure tweeted the ad soon after the game’s conclusion, with a cryptic promise:
As of press time, that news remained limited to a six-tweet thread on an exclusive six-month trial Tidal membership for Sprint customers, with part of the proceeds benefiting its 1Million Project, which aims to give one million low-income high schoolers free devices and Internet connections.
For now, all we know about “4:44” comes from the one-minute clip, which features Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) hitting a punching bag held by Danny Glover and staring intensely at himself in a mirror. The end credits note that the project stars fellow Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (“Queen of Katwe”) alongside Ali and Glover. The credits also disclose the project’s “NC-17” rating, which the Motion Picture Association of America uses for films that minors cannot legally watch in theaters. The credits point viewers to sprint.tidal.com, which currently only features details about the customer offer and the text, “Stay Tuned….”
None of the affiliated stars have mentioned the project on their social media pages.