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The Essential Breakdown of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Joint Album

Beyonce and Jay Z dropped an unannounced, joint album titled “Everything is Love” this weekend. And after a couple days of gasping, swooning, salivating and drooling, NBGA has put the remaining parts of our sanity back together and summarised the Everything is Love experience.

First of all, let me just say, my condolences to those of you who have already been to the ongoing On the Run II tour. You most definitely got the tragically short end of the stick. To those of you who have yet to see the Carters perform this year, congratulations! The stick is practically yours.

Second, just to be clear, life is too short to be critical towards anything that Bey and her hubby create. I just don’t have time for that type of negativity in my life. So any expectations you had on this article being anything other than a declaration of love to all things Carter, I’m going to need you to leave those expectations at the door. Let it be known that my love for Beyoncé runs deeper than Beyoncé herself when “dropping it down low, sweeping the floor with it”.

Let’s get to it then, shall we? As the Carter’s show in London was brought to a close this Saturday, an “Album Out Now” announcement unexpectedly hit the screens, causing a pretty major stir. Everything is Love is a nine-track album, with a bonus track titled SALUD! on a separate album (vague, I know). The album was accompanied with a groundbreaking music video. More about that later.

Let’s start off by dissecting some of the lyrics because if you ask me, the album is much more lyrically interesting than sonically. Neither of the tracks are radio-compatible bops – I’d rather describe Everything is Love as an unapologetic celebration of their accomplishments and prosperity, served with a side of fired shots. For example, Beyoncé declared war against Spotify, stating that she doesn’t need their streams, and Jay references Kanye and dethrones his place next to Jay, tweaking Kanye’s nickname in order to make it clear who’s occupying the throne next to him, “Hova, Beysus, watch the thrones.”On another song, some very transparent references were made regarding Jay’s infidelity. And the song BLACK EFFECT is an ode to love and being in love with your own blackness, while Beyoncé and Jay talk about themselves as symbols of black wealth.

The second song off the album is APES**T, and it features Offset and Quavo from Migos, as well as Pharell. Seeing that the Carters had not only dropped an album, but also a music video recorded at the Louvre, made me feel like my life was complete. It’s a bold statement occupying the most prestigious space the art world has to offer – a space that is used to celebrate and manifest a white supremacist art-historic canon.

Through the APES**T music video, Beyonce and Jay Z have found a way to partake in the celebration of western cultural heritage while also reminding us that white, old masters of the past are just a cute backdrop for the black monarchs of our generation. Despite black artists still being excluded from the art-historic narrative of our society, the Carters have made it clear that they don’t need favours from anybody; they have the resources to take control over and insert themselves into even the most racist of contexts.

The third song on the album is titled BOSS. It’s the cockiest song on the album, and my personal favourite; mostly because of the following line by Beyoncé: My great-great-grandchildren already rich / That’s a lot of brown chi’r’en on your Forbes list. It’s incredible to think that with each generation, the diversity among cultural leaders is going to increase. It lights up a hope for the future, a hope that the Carters righteously can take a lot of credit for.

The song ends with a cameo from Blue, saying “Shout out to Rumi and Sir, love, Blue.” I feel like the most reasonable conclusion to draw after hearing Blue drop a bar like that is #BlueForPresident, am I not super right?

My final words about Everything is Love is that although Rapponcé is something I’m very here for – Bey basically rapped her way through the entire album – I’m not going to lie, I would have much rather seen a full body of work by Beyoncé and Beyoncé alone, with vocals blowing me straight out of the water. However, I see this joint venture as the third and final part of the Lemonade and 4:44 trilogy. A trilogy where both Beyoncé and Jay Z got to tell their sides of the story, finally coming together in an incredibly iconic record that serves as a celebration of love and black wealth.

by Michelle Hallstrom