They didn’t drop a single, cover art, video, or anything. Sh**, they didn’t even post a few eye emoji’s on Twitter or Instagram. In the midst of their On The Run Tour, on June 16th, 2018, the Carters released their very first joint album, Everything Is Love, and please believe there is so much to say.
With no prior promotion, the news surrounding the album hit the surface before the music actually did. The album was dropped exclusively via Tidal, but even those who have fought the urge to download the platform before, definitely used that free trial to taste what Beyonce & Jay Z cooked up. For Jay Z, it hasn’t been too long from his last drop. But for Beyonce, it’s been roughly over two years since she has released new music. They have a few songs together of course, but for years listeners have yet to experience a collaborative project from the Carters. As we’ve watched their artistry expand in both 4:44 and Lemonade, one thing we did know is that the content of this album, would answer any questions we had about the life and career The Carters.
There were a few things we could’ve expected: for one, new Beyonce is new Beyonce, meaning we would be musically and sonically pleased at some point no matter what. Secondly, although Jay has shown age within his music post the 90s, 4:44 showed us that with the right formula, veterans can certainly have the upper hand; so there was a possibility of getting that Jay Z back. And lastly, with the alleged features from Migos, Ty Dolla $ign, and Pharrell, we could assume for there to be no misses. In the realm of mumble and trap rap, it’s natural to think that Jay Z couldn’t hang, with the thought that he may sound outdated. And for Beyonce, the talent and team she has wouldn’t allow her to drop anything short of amazing. So two questions arise prior to the first listen; would Jay Z be able to hold his own yet again? And would music from the two cohesively bond together, or sound forced?
So here’s where we’ll start:
They told us that we didn’t have to guess, that they’d just tell us: I have to commend the good work being sought out to protect the personal lives of Beyonce and Jay Z, but when Lemonade dropped, we all know that sh** shook up the scene. Even with a few songs, or even another album by Jay Z, nothing could silence fans and critics wondering more about the people Jay Z and Beyonce were, versus the people they portrayed. Well, they addressed a lot in this album, eliminating these boxes that the media loves to tape up. One thing we can start with, is the fact that they are bigger than the hype. Of course it stems from the roots of music, but Bey and Jay have transpired into world icons. When it comes to black success and dominance, they bleed the perfect example. On Everything Is Love, they speak about rewiring generations behind them that will be directly impacted by the heights of success that the two have reached. More than anything, on this album, they’re owning things and are showing no lines of remorse via lyrics like, “My great-great-grandchildren already rich/ That’s a lot of brown chi’r’en on your Forbes list” in “Boss”.
Throughout the album, it’s clear once again that Beyonce did not take that cheating incident lightly. She addressed it again, but there was one more rumor surrounding the couple that hasn’t been fully cleared up; the allegation of Jay Z having a kid. The Carters seemed to address every single issue in this one. In the song “Heard About Us”, Jay Z raps, “Billie Jean in his prime/ For the thousandth time, the kid ain’t mine/ Online they call me “dad,” kiddingly/ You’re not supposed to take this dad thing literally” These lyrics and allegations stem from rumors that Jay Z has been hiding a child for over a decade now. Once listeners heard the music around Jay Z cheating, they blew it up and of course, believed it even more.Sometimes people fail to realize that it’s not their life, and no one knows the story better than the people involved, so Jay let us in.
As listeners, we often take vulnerability lightly when it it’s exemplified by an artist. The Carters gave us a kaleidoscope view of what goes on within their household and workplace. It seems as if more present in recent years, people began paying more attention to their personal lives more than they paid attention to the actual music they were releasing. The hype dies down from an album and goes right back into a paparazzi, TMZ effect in which people begin focusing on who their daughter Blue was seen with, rather than the lyrics surrounding the love they have for her. Well, the attention will purely stay on this music this time around because we got the best of both worlds lyrically and production wise.
What box? Who would’ve thought that Beyonce would be out here rapping about Patek’s and saying her daughter would be “litty”? Welcome to 2018 queen. The best part of the album was the fact that rap and R&B weren’t forced to be seperate or present in any track. Beyonce was spitting on trap drum beats where as Jay Z was rapping over synthesized chords. Not to mention none of it sounded forced.The production features the likes of a few people who haven’t seem to make anything less than magical lately. First, it’s become a given that Pharrell just may be the one legend who has gotten better over time rather than worse. In addition to the beat, “Nice” was properly finished off with a saucy Pharrell verse which bled perfectly into Beyonce’s. Everything Is Love also features production from Jahaan Sweet, as made famous on Kehlani’s Cloud 19, and Boi-1da who’s coming clean off of hits on Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. The production on Everything Is Love is endearing in it’s own right. Before each beat is fully present, the captivation has been brought within the first few seconds. A number of producers speaks to the fact that there is no one sound on the album; it’s candidly a piece of everything.
The production on the album lends the perfect space for the blend of R&B and trap, which is a cross genre we haven’t seen from the Carters, ever. The most significant factor of blending genres was the fact that since this was a collaborative album, the creative direction was much more intricate. Rather than just a feature, both Beyonce and Jay Z didn’t have to fit the predetermined mold of the song. They could unapologetically be themselves rather than just a version of themselves for the betterment of the song. Seeing how they’re both respectively one of the best artists of the past 20 years, it’s only right that they influence each other somehow. Bey had Jay Z over here rapping about his late night feelings in “Heard About Us”, whereas Jay Z had Beyonce over here spitting over trap beats with Migos ad-libs in the background on “Apeshit”; don’t sleep on that.
The banter can stop now. Before this album, anyone could genuinely make the argument that although Beyonce and Jay Z are respectively at the top of their own genres, they don’t make the best music together. Fans love a “Bonnie & Clyde” or even an “On The Run Pt. II” when they’re feeling a little more heavy, but that wasn’t even touching the work we’ve seen from Twenty88, or even Jacquees and Dej who have made damn near flawless collaborations. In a time where Bey and Jay are the OG’s, they came in and killed the young bloods once again. They aren’t the best couple to ever make music, but they certainly earned their inclusion into the conversation. When us millenials look back at collaborative projects decades from now, Everything Is Love will definitely be a talking point, and served as direct combat to the idea that Bey and Jay don’t make good music together. They just gave us an entire album of good music.
The Carters are known for adding Mentos to the Coca-Cola bottle that is the music industry; whenever they drop, the results are explosive, no matter the timing. In interruption of Kanye West’s alleged returned G.O.O.D Friday’s, they had every blog and publication facing their attention onto Everything Is Love; a couple of thorough listens will show you why. The one thing that the album lacked other than for their song “Apeshit”, shot in the Louvre, was a visual to go along with. Listeners still haven’t stopped speaking about the visuals dropped from Lemonade, and naturally expected that again. But this is the kind of album that you can close your eyes too and picture a movie to the entire time. Someone hire these two for a soundtrack.
Everything Is Love is the ode to peace, within the life of the Carters. And for us, peace via the sedative drug that is real music in the midst of a transition stage of hip-hop and R&B. It’s clear that the two aren’t worried about numbers, but Everything Is Love was eventually added to both Apple Music & Spotify. For those who have went to the On The Run tour already, we apologize for you because you probably missed out on what is yet to come. For those who haven’t been to that tour yet but are scheduled to go, you are most likely in for a treat you never knew you needed. I think that we have to look at this album as the conclusion of a trilogy following Lemonade and 4:44; they’ve never made projects this socially powerful but damn they are rolling now… Before we try to figure out what the two may be up to next, let’s enjoy this one while we can. They seemed to drop this one at the right time, in the middle of Kanye attempting to regain hip-hop, and fans being mad, as usual, at the XXL class of 2018. Right when it seemed like music inserted the sunken place, I think this project by Beyonce & Jay Z served as the light flash that could bring us right back out. We needed this one, even though we didn’t even know it was coming.
Stream the album here.