If you clicked on this because you think I am about to go in on how Jay Z and Beyoncé are overrated and this album is trash, sorry this is not that review. Though, you may be able to relate to some of this whether you are or are not a fan of Jay Z and Beyoncé.
Jay Z and Beyoncé are not overrated. They have not been ruling the music world for decades because of luck. Being able to connect to the masses is a talent in itself.
Sure, Nas and J Cole are more relatable than Jay-Z, King Los is a better freestyler, has a better flow, and just as good double entendres, but as Jay Z says on “NICE” I do everything well. He is the Lebron James of rap. There are better rebounders, scorers, and defenders but nobody does all those things at the level of Lebron.
The same can be said about Beyoncé. Jade Novah probably has more range, Ciara is a better dancer, Solange and Janelle Monae are more inventive but no artist is as good as Beyoncé across the board. What sets them apart is they do everything well, and have no weaknesses.
Now the album ... ehhh ... it is microwave music. By that I mean it's good but I do not see it having lasting power. It is a Gucci Mane or Migos mixtape for the summer. It will be in the clubs, cars, and everywhere. The production is second to none.
The album does not have much depth. It is a true pop album. Sure, Jay Z and Beyoncé should be proud of their accomplishments but after the 3rd straight song of hearing how much money, cars, clothes, etc. they have it gets exhausting.
As Big Krit asserts, “if it don’t touch my soul than I can’t listen to it.”
The album is full of my money, friends, and life is better than yours. Do not get me wrong, rap and radio music has an element of “poppin shit.” Talkin’ shit on a record and stamping your greatness is needed. A whole album of it is meh, or at least not the album for me at this stage of life.
Sure there are some jewels dropped on the album. It is beautiful to see the display of love Jay Z has for Beyoncé. An artist that was so androcentric and sexual objectifying at one point of his career, just like many young immature men to his defense, has matured and truly upholds Beyoncé as a queen which is good for the world to see.
The intro to “Black Effect” has countless jewels. The Carters also talk about the value of loyalty between friends and lovers. “LoveHappy” is the most open and relatable song on the album. The aforementioned “Black Effect” has some depth, it speaks on culture appropriation and how every other culture wants the “cool” affect that black people have on pop culture throughout the world but they do not want to deal with racism and everything else that comes with being black in America.
Still, much of the song is about jewelry, cars, and how much they get paid.
“Y'all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather
Move the whole family West, but it's whatever
In a glass house still throwing stones
Hova, Beysus, watch the thrones”
There are also a couple shots at the Wests. Jay Z's line in “LoveHappy,”
“Y'all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather, move the whole family West, but it's whatever” was not a shot at Kanye West, but Jay is a mastermind with lyrics, he did not mention West on accident.
Directly after that line Beyoncé says, “In a glass house still throwing stones, Hova, Beysus, watch the throne.” Many believe that is a shot a Kanye who had an album entitled Watch the Throne with Jay Z and refers to himself as Yeezus for one of his monikers.
Also, Jay Z says on “Black Effect,” “They even biting cornrows, put your scarecrows up” which seems to be a direct shot at Kim Kardashian who took criticism for trying to re-brand cornrows as boxer braids along with other terms as if the hairstyle was new.
Lastly, they decided to drop the album a day after Nas’ Nasir album, produced solely by Kanye West. I doubt that was by coincidence. Though Nasir might not be #1 on the Billboard chart he has always affirmed his music was not for radio, or pop music, hence the title of the first song on Nas' album.
“Everything is Love” could not overshadow “Nasir” because Nas is in a different lane, less pop more depth. That can be good or bad depending on perspective but it is reality.
All in all, the album is great microwave music, good for the day parties, and the red light. This is more of a mixtape than an album. Jay Z and Beyoncé can make good music in their sleep, no pun intended.
The album has and will continue to appeal to the majority and to their credit both their last albums were exceedingly insightful and powerful. I guess Jay Z wanted those radio records that he did not have on 4:44 and show he can still top the charts, have hits on the radio, and talk the best shit at 48. In that sense, mission accomplished.