Jay Z and Beyoncé are two of the most powerful people in music, and they are even stronger as a team. So of course fans went crazy when it was announced that the two would be releasing a surprise joint album earlier this month.
Each of their most recent projects discuss the ups and downs of their relationship from both of their point of views. Up until 2016 the two were every secretive about their private life until we started hearing that the two were having relationship issues. In 2016 Beyoncé released “Lemonade” which many felt was her statement album in which she expressed her raw emotions about her and Jay’s relationship. Last year Jay released what many viewed as a response to “Lemonade” titled “4:44” in which he gives his side of the story and shares his own thoughts and opinions. “Everything is Love” can be viewed as a trilogy in which the two come together as one to speak on the situations surrounding their marriage. The couple’s rekindled love is the theme of the album, and they both chose to address anyone who has shamed them while they dealt with their personal encounters. Their newfound sense of unity has allowed them to focus on creating music they know their fans will love.
As Jay has grew wiser, he began to rap more about his everyday life occurrences, as well as his endeavors as a business man. For instance on “Everything is Love”, Jay has a verse on “APESH*T” highlighting how he rejected an offer to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl last year. He goes, “I said no to the Super Bowl, You need me I don’t need you, Every night we in the end zone, Tell the NFL we in stadiums too.” Jay is his own business man and he felt disrespected when the NFL tried to do him a solid by giving him such a large platform to perform on. These are new situations that Jay finds himself in as a wealthy business man, and has decided to give his fans his side of the story by intertwining his everyday life with his music. Nowadays we don’t see Jay getting into as many rap feuds, but we still get to listen to him speak the truth in a way that keeps us coming back for more. The status of his relationship is something that Jay has not really spoken publicly about through his music, so it was interesting to see how he and Beyoncé gave their fans some insight into their lives while still making a great album.Jay Z established himself in the rap game by laying down viscous rhymes on bass booming tracks that constantly, have topped the charts for almost two decades. Songs like “99 problems” and “Hard Knock Life” exemplify Jay’s unmatched lyrical talent. Although Jay’s old school aggressive rap style earned him lots of fame and money, he also has never shied away from rapping about his troubles in life. One thing that has remained consistent since the start of his career has been Jay’s ability to never back down from a challenge, or anyone who dares to challenge him on the mic. For example during his beef with Nas, Jay said that Nas had a “one hot album every ten year average” on a Hot 97 freestyle at the 2001 Summer Jam. The track called “Takeover”, later appeared on his 2001 album “The Blueprint”, and many viewed it as the “effective end” of Nas’s career atop the rap game. Even at the beginning of Jay’s career in the mid 1990’s, he was rapping about how mentally he’s “been many places” but he’s “Brooklyn’s own”. Which shows he came into the game unafraid to speak his mind on all subjects. Along with paying homage to his hometown of Brooklyn, Jay has consistently rapped about his “rags to riches” life story and how he made it to the top all the way from the bottom.
Beyoncé Knowles has long been referred to as the one of the queens of music for her consistent reign atop music charts of all kind for over 15 years. Her old school party anthems with Jay Z like “Crazy in Love” and “Upgrade U”, show us that Beyoncé has never hesitated to change lanes with her music. While her notorious love songs like “Irreplaceable” show us why Beyoncé is one of the best at tugging on our feelings, while getting across her own personal message. Beyoncé’s ability to succeed making both kinds of music is a big reason why she is one of the very best. Not to mention her outstanding performance ability witnessed during halftime of the 2013 Super Bowl, sold out concerts, and numerous music award shows. In her music we have heard Beyoncé sing about numerous topics ranging from love, to the power that women have in society. Her 2011 track “Run the World (Girls)” was specifically for females all across the world. The song consists of powerful lyrics inspiring girls to take charge. The lyrics “Who Run the World? Girls” are repeated throughout the song and Beyoncé even says that the song goes out to “All my girls that’s in the club rockin’ the latest”. Beyoncé has always done an exceptional job connecting with her fans and this is a prime example of it. One thing we haven’t heard Beyoncé sing about until recently is her love life with Jay Z. When Lemonade released in 2016, we saw an extremely emotional Beyoncé get specific about her and Jay’s relationship for the first time. Beyoncé used this album to voice her displeasure with Jay about his lack of commitment regarding their relationship. On the first track titled “Pray You Catch Me” she says “You can taste the dishonesty it’s all over your breath.” Even though she doesn’t mention Jay directly, many listeners can infer that he is whom she is speaking about. However, Beyoncé also used this album to express her continued love for Jay even though their relationship was in rocky waters at the time. On her Lemonade track “Hold Up” we hear Beyoncé continuously say “They don’t love you like I love you”. These two examples highlight the extreme emotions that was experiencing at the time and why the album is so moving. The Beyoncé that we hear on “Everything is Love” is less vengeful and seems to be focused on the revival of her and Jay’s relationship, and the obstacles the two of them overcame.
Beyoncé’s lyrics on “Everything is Love” show us that her and Jay are dedicated to rebuilding their marriage, and enjoying their riches together. While also, squashing anyone who tries to defy them or get in their way. On the last song called “LOVEHAPPY” the two take turns talking about their marriage and how it almost took a turn for the worst. Beyoncé chips in by saying “The ups and downs are worth it. Long way to go, but we’re working”. Even though their relationship hit a rough patch, Beyoncé is confirming that she and Jay are back on good terms and are working on their marriage. She follows it up by saying “This beach ain’t always been no paradise. But nightmares only last one night.” Hinting at the fact that even though she and Jay live lavish lifestyles, it hasn’t always been as great as it seems, which may be something we would’ve never imagined. However, Beyoncé’s presence on the album doesn’t just involve love. On the track called “HEARD ABOUT US”, Beyoncé has a verse where she mentions her and Jay’s trips to “Cuba then Aruba in the middle of the winter.” She and Jay Z obviously live comfortably, so it was cool to see Beyoncé focused on reaping their rewards and forgetting about the haters in their lives. She seems to remain in the same mindset when she says,“We laugh to the bank, but we ain’t no joke.” I thought Beyoncé and Jay did a great job showing how they are still living life on top, even with their small hiccup in the road. It is clear that Jay Z and Beyoncé have left their differences in the past and are focused on creating a bright future for themselves, their children, and especially their friends. In fact, the duo go into great detail about their friends on their song ironically called “FRIENDS”. On the track we hear Beyoncé talk about how her friends “pull her up” and “never let her down”. While we hear Jay Z talk about other people being “fake close” and “switching sides like NBA teams after halftime. Here Jay is stressing how consistent he is amongst his friends and has always been loyal. Beyoncé and Jay’s friends played a crucial role in supporting the two of them while they were ironing things out between them. “FRIENDS” can be seen as an act of gratitude to all of their friends to stood by their side during dark times.
Beyoncé and Jay Z both played a unique role on this album, and both reminded of us of what got them to the top. On “APESH*T”, “713” and “NICE” we heard a little bit of Jay Z’s smooth rhyming that was similar to a lot of his old work. On “NICE”, the words “I can do anything” are repeated in the chorus, and Jay also goes on to say that he has “no fear of death”. This is a prime example of Jay Z throwing it back to fearless ’01 Jay, who didn’t back down from anything or anyone. But Jay also found a way to successfully insert himself into the slower songs that were dominated by Beyoncé. As for Beyoncé, she did her thing on the love based slow jams as we expected, but even rapped on “713”, “APESH*T” and “NICE” as well. Which is something she isn’t known for, but you couldn’t tell based on the way she was able to flow with the beat while rhyming as well . What made this album great is how well Beyoncé and Jay stuck to what they do best, while also crossing over into each other’s field. Their sense of togetherness on the album can also be translated to their newly committed love life. The album is currently number two on the Billboard 200 list of best albums, and it should be towards the top for a while. Jay Z and Beyoncé found a way to make a great album while also repairing their relationship and giving their fans what they want, which is why I would give “Everything is Love”4 out of 5 tips of the cap.