Beyoncé and all of her old/new industry friends deliver phenomenal performances in “The Lion King: The Gift.”
“Spirit” is a gem that features an unbelievable vocal performance by Beyoncé, an epic instrumental, and a choral performance that will give you the chills. If there was any doubt that Lion King was going to have some soul attached to it, that s**t will be put to bed after you listen to this song.
“Spirit” > Spirit Airlines.
You can tell that Beyoncé literally gave it her all on “Bigger.”
“BIGGER” isn’t powered by a hard-hitting instrumental or a catchy hook; what does power the song is an infectious melody, an outstanding vocal performance by Beyoncé, and most importantly, lyrical content that will make you understand the magnitude of legacies, love, and support. If you don’t like that combination of aspects, you may need to be unfollowed by GOD.
Beyoncé’s singing on “Bigger” gave me serious chills (Either that or I need to turn off my damn AC).
3. MOOD 4 EVA
“MOOD 4 EVA” features Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Childish Gambino (Excuse me while I wipe s**t off of my pants).
While there are plenty of moments on The Lion King: The Gift in which African pride is shown, I thought “MOOD 4 EVA” displayed outstanding African-American pride. On the song, Beyoncé lets regular Joes like myself know how unf**kwittable, strong, and blessed she is. You also get a tough-ass verse by Jay-Z in which he pays homage to both Lagos and some of America’s biggest music stars of all-time, and a verse by Childish Gambino in which he gifts us with very comforting vocals.
As much as I love how “Mood 4 Eva” turned out, the hip-hop fan in me sorta wishes Childish Gambino would’ve gone bar for bar with Jay-Z on the song.
2. JA ARA E
Burna Boy absolutely murdered “JA ARA E!” (OK, maybe “murdered” is the wrong word to use for this family-friendly project… What about severely punctured “JA ARA E?”)
In my opinion, Burna Boy sounds like the epitome of a strong African man. Not only does he have this sturdy voice, but his Nigerian accent is as potent as it gets. On “JA ARA E,” Burna shines by simply being himself on the song.
“Otherside” is one of Beyoncé’s best songs.
Much like “BIGGER,” “OTHERSIDE” will give you serious chills. The song features this soothing/saintly instrumental, a numbing vocal performance by Beyoncé, nurturing sentiments, and even someone’s native language (I’m not sure what language they were speaking… Call me ignorant all you want, but Nigeria alone has over 520 languages). At the end of the day, many will disagree with me when it comes to putting this song as the top; oh well!
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. balance (mufasa interlude) (N/A)
2. BIGGER (5/5)
3. the stars (mufasa interlude) (N/A)
4. FIND YOUR WAY BACK (5/5)
5. uncle scar (N/A)
6. DON’T JEALOUS ME (4/5)
7. danger (young simba and young nala interlude)
8. JA ARA E (5/5)
9. run away (scar and young simba interlude)
10. NILE (3/5)
11. new lesson (timon, pumbaa & young simba interlude) (N/A)
12. MOOD 4 EVA (5/5)
13. reunited (N/A)
14. WATER (5/5)
15. BROWN SKIN GIRL (5/5)
16. come home (nala interlude) (N/A)
17. KEYS TO THE KINGDOM (4/5)
18. follow me (rafiki interlude) (N/A)
19. ALREADY (4/5)
20. remember (mufasa interlude) (N/A)
21. OTHERSIDE (5/5)
22. war (nala interlude)
23. MY POWER (3.5/5)
24. surrender (simba and scar interlude) (N/A)
25. SCAR (3/5)
26. i’m home (mufasa, sarabi & simba interlude) (N/A)
27. SPIRIT (5/5)
Just to sum it up for you guys: Jay-Z, Blue Ivy, Donald Glover, Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Tierra Wack, Jessie Reyez, 070 Shake, Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, WizKid, SAINt. JHN, Shatta Wale, Moonchild Sanelly, Tiwa Savage, and Tekno are all featured on The Lion King: The Gift. Some people you will clearly hear, while others, you will probably have to have Google by your side to figure out which song they were on. Whatever the case may be, everyone but Jessie Reyez put up very solid performances on the album, to me. But at the end of the day, the biggest artist in music right now, Beyoncé, was the star of this African-inspired/epic show. Not only was her vocal performances flawless (Especially on songs like “BETTER,” “OTHERSIDE” and “SPIRIT”), but the balls she showed to dive nose-deep into authentic Afro-pop music is hella impressive. In my opinion, this displays to the world how fearless of an artist she is, in addition to the real admiration for the African culture she has ingrained in her soul. Beyoncé, you officially deserve an honorary African card.
I can already hear my Naija friends complaining about my top 5 now (I can hear the “Twwws” through your page views)… Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved songs like “BROWN SKIN GIRL” and “WATER,” but when it’s all said and done, those songs can’t really compete with some of the other legendary afro-hits I heard in the past couple of years. However, when I listened to songs like “OTHERSIDE” and “BETTER,” I heard legendary efforts that can stand the test of time, are epic-sounding, and extremely hard to perform, write, arrange, and duplicate.
Honestly, get the f**k up out my Nigerian trap house if you aren’t feeling this The Lion King: The Gift album! It’s way too cultural and powerful to ignore. As for my review, if you thought it sucked, go ahead and eat expired palm oil, Jo!
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.