Beyoncé is no stranger to dropping an album by surprise, but she's brought her husband along for the ride this time, and in an iconic way. Beyoncé & JAY-Z affirm their position as music's power couple in Everything Is Love, their surprise collaborative record that is both honest and authoritative.
If there's one thing the couple wants you to know in Everything Is Love, it's that they are on top, and that can never be contested. It's perhaps most starkly stated in 'BOSS,' where Beyoncé powerfully states in her third verse: "Ain't nothing to it, I boss so I bought my momma a whip / My great-great-grandchildren already rich," quite clearly saying she has all the power she needs. JAY-Z, on the other hand, takes time in his verse to show that he has strength over others; namely, Drake, at whom he makes lowkey references to from invoices to having a boss (which, for Drake, would be Lil Wayne). Even their daughter Blue Ivy gets in on the action, ending the song be declaring "I'm a boss!" Wealth is a common point of authority used throughout the record, Beyoncé referencing a bunch of things only rich people would understand in the aggressively driven 'APESHIT' ("Bought him a jet / Shut down Colette / Phillippe Patek") as Quavo interjects with ad libs. 'HEARD ABOUT YOU' says a lot, as well; the chorus chants "No need to ask you heard about us / Already know you know about us," which really says it all: who doesn't know about them?
Beyoncé's and JAY-Z's relationship was never perfect, and they know it. Even while they affirm they are the couple in music, they do acknowledge the tensions they've had. While not ever calling each other out, they sing about their past dramas in closing track 'LOVEHAPPY,' where the couple exchange roles in stating how they are happy to be back together and be better than ever. There's some fun interplay in there, too, as Beyoncé teases Jay, and it feels like they're having a conversation: "Yeah, you fucked up the first stone, we had to get remarried / Yo, chill man / We keepin' it real with these people, right? Lucky I ain't kill you when I met that b-." Their relationship isn't the only thing they connect with, either: '713' is an ode to their upbringings, saying how even though they may not have grown up in the best conditions, they "still got love for the streets." Similarly, 'BLACK EFFECT' acknowledges how difficult it is to be black in America, but how they'd have it no other way. The couple even get into other types of drama in 'FRIENDS,' where they drag the music industry for being an arms race of people using each other.
Beyoncé & JAY-Z affirm their position as music's power couple in Everything Is Love, flaunting their combined success and acknowledging the ups and downs of their relationship. Even the greatest couples aren't perfect; but if you even dare and try and say so, just know this duo will make sure you learn a thing or two. This album is a warning.
Favorite Track: APESHIT
Least Favorite Track: NICE
Rating: 73 / 100
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