Did ya’ll think that after all these legends dropped albums these last couple of weeks that Jay-Z and Beyoncè would keep silent? It was inevitable that somehow the couple would get in on the action, breaking the internet faster than any naked Kim Kardashian photo wished it could. In this new surprise project, the duo looks to shift hip hop’s balance of power in their direction, even if in the process it requires them to dive deeper into personal lives that they are so good at keeping private when they aren’t making music.
HONORABLE MENTION. HEARD ABOUT US I couldn’t help but snicker at “Heard About Us.” It has this calming nature to it that makes it feel like the theme song to a soap opera, yet the words Beyonce and Jay-Z spew on it (Especially Beyoncè) sounds so immature at times. That doesn’t diminish the quality of the music, what it does is make it feel that much more authentic. Aside from that, I think the effortless flow both artists used on their verses and the hook makes the track feel like one of the easier ones to sing-a-long to. I love when people in relationships are the biggest fans of each other. I struggle with that, especially when my lady tells me she wants to be an aspiring trapper.
“Boss” just sounds so rebellious, so mellow, so swagged out! Since Beyonce comes across more like a petty boss than a corporate one on this song, her snobbish demeanor serves well as a reminder to listeners that you should say “f**k the credentials” and start acting like a boss if you want to be one.
The definition of a boss to Jay is a little more technical than Beyoncé’s definition. He actually voices some frustration on the track, letting the world know what peeves him when it comes to individuals thinking that they are at his level when it comes to building an empire. Believe it or not, Jay tries to give us business 101 on this seemingly light-hearted track
Someone tell Jay i’ma boss, too! I just happen to be one of those broke bosses.
You know what topic rakes the nerves of nearly every celebrity on this planet? The topic of friends. I feel like the infatuation each celebrity figure must have with having the right people around them is critical, which at times can result in both anger and appreciation. In “Friends,” Beyoncè and Jay-Z discuss every single element that pertains to the topic of friends, but in a way that is just as sacred as it is simplistic.
Technically, “Friends” has this dark nature to it production-wise, but it is masked by thumping 808’s and an infectious rhythm. Beyoncè handles majority of the responsibilities for the song, giving us this dreary performance throughout that gives me flashbacks to vintage Brandy. As for Jay-Z, he uses the track as target practice, toying with flows that he has no business toying with. Nonetheless, his insistence in dismissing competition while bigging up his own circle is my biggest take away from his bars.
Who are they trying to fool, these two multimillionaires don’t have no damn friends!
Have I ever seen a crowd go “apes**t,” you ask? Of course! I was in DC when the Washington Capitols won the championship just last week.
“Apes**t” is clearly the club hit for this album. The beat is explosive, we get a chance to hear a version of Beyonce that is cocky and arrogant, and even get some Quavo ad-libs in the background. It feels like one big party that Tekashi 6ix9ine nor I am invited to.
Let’s keep it real: Quavo and Offset, who are both credited on this song, had a major influence on Beyoncè’s lyrical content. I don’t know how else to say it, but I think her lyrics on this track are beyond awful, and lets keep it real yet it again, it sounds in line with some s**t Migos would rap. But in this bizarre art form we call hip hop music, more times than not, awful lyrics can power a song to hit status. Nonetheless, I tuned every single word she said out in favor of her unique flows and lively vocal performance.
Jay-Z talks his s**t on this song — utilizing similar flows as Beyonce — but actually giving us something that falls directly in line with his intelligence level. Listen, I too hate when Jay-Z lacks humility in his bars, but in this club banger, I actually thought it was necessary.
Seriously, WTF is Beyonce talking about on this song?
“Summer” is all about its vibes. I would say it’s so chill that it makes me want to sit outside with my beach chair and sip on some lemonade, but I think that will reignite all kinds of turmoil.
I feel like Beyonce is amazing on this song! Her passion, her earth shattering vocals and poetic words gave me the goosebumps. She doesn’t quite sound crazy in love on the track, but definitely a bit unstable. Maybe we can call this song “Unstable In Love?”
Jay-Z wasn’t the brightest crayon in this two piece crayon box this time around, as he stumbles over his words like a teenager being interrogated by a cop on his verse. However, what you should take away from his lyrics is that he still has this youthful view to this relationship he has been in for over ten years (How Cute).
You know what would’ve been dope? If some random ass old man was ad-libing in the background to this song. I just felt like the track could’ve used a couple ‘alright, alright now’s.
The only thing more powerful than a ‘problem’ is a ‘solution,’ right? In “LoveHappy,” America’s favorite power couple discusses the many different ways they were able to patch their relationship up when they had their fair share of issues. As expected, some of those solutions involved buying rings, changing scenery and leaving the late-night lifestyle alone for good. What I love most about this song is that it has this frolicsome vibe to it, as Jay and Beyonce somewhat humorously go back and forth with one another on the two verses, coming across like a couple talking to another couple about their new and improved marriage. As for the hook, Beyoncè sounds like she’s talking to one of her girlfriends about the dirty s**t Jay did to her and how he found a way to repair things. I love the overall transparency.
I feel like this song can end up on the soundtrack for every single Tyler Perry movie ever created.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. SUMMER (5/5)
2. APESHIT (4.9/5)
3. BOSS (5/5)
4. NICE (4.4/5)
5. 713 (4.5/5)
6. FRIENDS (5/5)
7. HEARD ABOUT US (4.5/5)
8. BLACK EFFECT (4.5/5)
9. LOVEHAPPY (5/5)
Ever since the elevator incident occurred between Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange, you can argue that each artist has dropped some of their best music to date (Including Solange). After the toxic “Lemonade” and the remorseful “4:44,” the two latest offerings, Beyonce and Jay-Z decided to complete their trilogy with a bang, giving us an album full of music that is joyous beyond its musical time.
You know the number one thing that impressed me about this album? How seamlessly both artists intertwined both r&b and rap genres into the overall scheme of things. There is no longer that shock factor when you hear that brash version of Beyoncè that spits bars as aggressively as any one of your favorite rap artists, which ultimately made it easy for Jay-Z to be the best version of himself. Not only is this a testament to Bey’s ever-growing addiction to incorporate the sounds of today into her music, but it also a testament of how common it is that the hip hop musicians of today are willing to dabble in music that we once thought they shouldn’t have been dabbling in.
I truly feel like Jay-Z was on cruise control on this album. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I actually think he’s at his best when he’s rapping like that. Throughout this album, he never stresses a single bar, rarely letting touchy subjects like a fractured marriage, parenting or shaky business get to him. All in all, you can just tell in his demeanor that he is in a happy place. However, does his rap mechanics suffer a bit from being in such a state? Probably, but not enough to move him down on the totem poll when it comes to hottest rappers out right now.
I can’t say enough about the production on this album. Every single beat on it had its own foot to stand on, each bringing something unique to the party. There was a great mixture of liveliness, clubby s**t and old school gems throughout, a combination that gets me all amped up inside.
Us as fans love transparency, and boy did we get some on this album. In the previous two projects, I felt like Jay-Z and Beyoncè let us into their bedroom, giving us a chance to listen in on some of the arguments/discussions they had with one another when they were going through their highly publicized issues. This time around, it felt like the duo wanted us to listen in on the reinvigoration of their accord, opting to sacrifice our musical expectations of them for lively/youthful vibes. Even though this album felt amazing to listen to from my point of view, I have no doubt in my mind that it was strictly made for their solacement.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.