Beyoncé and Jay Z have released their first collaborative project Everything is Love under their marital name, The Carter’s. As the UK leg of the On The Run II tour draws to a close, Beyoncé and Jay announced the release and debuted the visual for the track Apeshit at the end of Saturday’s show in London, where Princess Eugenie was in attendance. In Beyoncé’s trademark fashion, the album dropped with no prior warning, an approach we first saw in 2013 when she announced the surprise visual album on Instagram. The album, at first only available on Tidal is now also available on Apple Music and Spotify. It features nine tracks as well as a bonus track Salud, which appears on Tidal separately from the album but under the same artwork.
The stunning visual for Apeshit is set in the illustrious Parisian museum, the Louvre. It features the couple and their dancers performing in front of prominent pieces such as Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Coronation of Napoleon’ by Jacques-Louis David. A spokesperson from the Louvre issued a statement about the couple’s use of the venue: “Beyoncé and Jay-Z visited the Louvre four times in the last ten years. During their last visit in May 2018, they explained their idea of filming. The deadlines were very tight but the Louvre was quickly convinced because the synopsis showed a real attachment to the museum and its beloved artworks.”
The Carter’s use of the Louvre feels very symbolic, positioning Hip Hop/RnB and a demonstration of Blackness and Black art inside of a building that has historically housed White European artistic expression. As with Lemonade, Everything is Love channels various forms of Black empowerment, from celebrating Blackness and showcasing Black artistic expression, to calling out systemic racism.
On Nice, co-produced by Pharrell Williams, Jay Z addresses his court hearing from May of this year, which was ordered as part of an investigation into accounts of Iconix, the company that bought his Rocawear clothing brand in 2007:
Yeah, fuck your subpoenas and your misdemeanours / Was too busy touring out all your arenas / My passport is tatted, it look like it’s active / I play on these planes, y’all catch me in traffic / Y’all drag me in court for that shit, y’all backwards / After all these years of drug trafficking, huh / Time to remind me / I’m Black again, huh / All this talking back, I’m too arrogant, huh.
On Boss Beyoncé brags:
My great-great-grandchildren already rich, that’s a lot of brown children on your Forbes list.
This likely throws shade at the current state of wealth distribution, which sees Black people heavily underrepresented on Forbes’ Rich List.
Cotemporary cultural references include a row of Black men kneeling down in the Apeshit visual, which likely refers to Colin Kaepernick and other NFL player’s kneeling during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality towards minorities in the United States.
Everything is Love reads as the final chapter in the Lemonade/4:44/Becky with the Good Hair/Solange in the elevator/infidelity story, as the two artists come together in a finale of togetherness, imperfection, reconciliation, love and overcoming.
On Lovehappy Beyoncé sings:
You did some things to me / Boy, you do some things to me / But love is deeper than your pain and I believe you can change / Baby, the ups and downs are worth it / Long way to go, but we’ll work it / We’re flawed but we’re still perfect for each other.
On the same track she addresses Jay Z’s infidelity in a different tone:
B: Yeah, you fucked up the first stone, we had to get remarried
J: Yo, chill man
B: We keepin’ it real with these people, right? Lucky I ain’t kill you when I met that b-
J: (Nah, aight, aight ) Y’all know how I met her, we broke up and got back together / To get her back, I had to sweat her / Y’all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather / Move the whole family West, but it’s whatever.
Having previously hinted at her rap skills on songs such as Yoncé and DJ Khaled’s Top Off, Beyoncé gives her husband a run for his money on their joint venture, ‘rap-singing’ on many tracks from the new album including Apeshit, Lovehappy and 713. 713 samples the hook from Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre’s Still D.R.E, which was originally written by Jay Z. The song’s title refers to the area code of Beyoncé’s hometown of Houston, Texas.
The couple famously shy away from discussing details of their lives, choosing to address the rumours and speculation within their music and performances. In the controversial Charlamagne interview, Kanye West admitted his disappointment at Jay Z and Beyoncé failing to attend his wedding to Kim Kardashian in 2014, despite them having marital issues at the time. On the track Friends Jay Z appears to respond to Kanye’s comments, rapping:
I ain’t going to nobody for nothing when me and my wife beefing / I don’t care if the house on fire, I’m dying, nigga, I ain’t leaving / Ty Ty take care of my kids, after he done grieving / If ya’ll don’t understand that, we ain’t meant to be friends.
On Nice Beyoncé references her choice to keep Lemonade as a Tidal exclusive:
‘Cause my success can’t be quantified / If I gave two fucks, two fucks about streaming numbers / Would’ve put ‘Lemonade’ up on Spotify/ Fuck you.
Having recently achieved further career-affirming success with her ground breaking Coachella performance, the Queen B and husband Jay Z are set to make further waves this Summer, as the On The Run II tour makes it’s way through Europe and the United States. We are yet to see if the new album will be incorporated in the tour, but we’re sure Everything is Love will be soundtrack to everyone’s Summer 2018.