Ranking Each Song From JAY-Z & Beyonce's 'Everything Is Love' Album: Critic's Pick
It was a calm summer Saturday evening (June 16) until Beyoncé and JAY-Z decided to turn the world upside down and release their joint album, Everything Is Love, without any warning whatsoever. The power couple has teased the idea of doing a project together in year's past and the long-awaited collaboration is finally here.
Everything Is Love clocks in at just over 38 minutes of adult contemporary hip-hop, as radio personality Charlamagne Tha God likes to say. The 9-track TIDAL exclusive serves as fresh content for the pair to perform together after kicking off the European leg of their On The Run II Tour last week in Wales.
Without further ado, Billboard attempts to rank each song from Everything Is Love.
9. "Black Effect"
The track's introduction pulls from an unnamed woman's explanation of the different kinds of love in the world. She mentions a range from yourself to god and a partner. In all love, the voice concludes, there is a soul yearning for the perfect match. Hov and Bey exchange fiery verses over the Cool & Dre production while exuding an appreciation for black culture.
"Since the Khalif died, they've been at my neck/ Y'all can tell 'em Trayvon is comin' next/ The FCC, the FBI or the IRS," Jay rhymes spotlighting the horrors and corruption of America's criminal justice system. He executive produced Netflix's (originally appeared on Spike) Time: The Kalief Browder Story documentary in 2017. The Brooklyn-bred rapper will be releasing another docu-series highlighting the controversial death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story premieres on the Paramount Network in July.
8. "Heard About Us"
"Heard About Us" serves as a double entendre with the public witnessing the growth of Beyoncé and JAY-Z's careers since the '90s and also hints at the relationship turmoil they experienced that nearly destroyed their marriage. The 48-year-old interpolates elements of The Notorious B.I.G.'s hit "Juicy" on the tune's chorus. "If you don't know, now you know, n---a/ Put hoes in their place, bitch stay in your lane," he boldly raps. Jay later denies the 2016 rumor that he unknowingly fathered a kid back in the '90s: "Billie Jean in his prime/ For the thousand time, the kid ain't mine/ Online they call me dad, kiddingly."
Everything Is Love's final track affords fans some much-needed closure as Bey and Jay let us know they have worked through their marital troubles and are happily in love over the David Andrew Sitek production. It's been quite the enduring relationship journey in the public eye, which began with Beyoncé's LEMONADE album in 2016, followed by Hov's 4:44 the next year. The couple gets right to addressing the past by exchanging digs on the tune's opening verse. "Yeah, you fucked up the first stone, we had to get remarried/ We keepin' it real with these people, right/ Lucky I ain't kill you when I met that b-," Queen Bee quips before Jay cuts her off.
The Carters open up their collaborative album with a luscious tune implementing elements of the beach on "Summer." In the past, both artists have used the beach for metaphorical purposes. In 2013, JAY-Z spoke about bringing sand to the beach on his Mike WiLL Made-It-produced "Beach Is Better (Interlude)" from Magna Carta Holy Grail. The couple appeared by the ocean for the sultry "Drunk In Love" visual. Years later, Bey made a harrowing song revolving around the beach with LEMONADE's "Sandcastles." "We built sandcastles that washed away/ I made you cry when I walked away," Beyoncé painfully stated.
More soothing production from Cool & Dre. Bee pays homage to her hometown of Houston with the song's title being the city's area code. Jay takes his verse back to when he first met his future wife and what was the start of a fruitful relationship at the turn of the century. One of their first documented interactions took place at MTV's Spring Break Festival in Cancun, Mexico in 2000. Hova later alludes to his vacation to Saint-Tropez with Bey at his side in 2002 where he exuded his novice skills as a swimmer.
JAY-Z may very well be subliminally referencing Drake on his opening verse. Drizzy has rapped about wanting to be on Roc-A-Fella before turning into a Hov-type of figure at OVO on "Summer Sixteen." Jay takes shots at the fact that Drake is still signed under Lil Wayne and Birdman, which doesn't make him a true mogul in the game just yet. The pair of rap stars seemed to have had a falling out since Carter appeared on Drake's debut album in 2010, with the 6 God later choosing Apple Music over TIDAL. Longtime Kanye West collaborator, Mike Dean, notches a production credit alongside Beyoncé and JAY-Z on the horn-tinged tune. The multi-talented Ty Dolla $ign also played a role in penning the track.
Track No. 4 sees Pharrell making his second cameo on the album. He co-produced "Nice" along with making vocal contributions on the chorus and holding down the final verse. Bey responds to the criticism she received around the industry for keeping her LEMONADE album as a TIDAL exclusive and even sends some shade Spotify's way: "If I gave two f--ks -- two f--ks about streaming numbers/ Would have put 'LEMONADE' up on Spotify/ F--k you, f--k you, you're cool, f--k you, I'm out."
Both Beyoncé and JAY-Z show love to the tight-knit friend groups each has developed throughout their decorated careers as artists. While Queen Bee doesn't drop any names, she is quick to mention she'll always be there for her ride-or-dies. Hova has no issue spotlighting his inner-circle in his music and does the same thing here. Jay reveals that in the horrifying scenario where he wasn't there for his kids anymore, his longtime best friend, Ty-Ty, who is Blue Ivy's Godfather, would take care of them. "I don't care if the house on fire, I'm dyin', n---a, I ain't leavin'/ Ty-Ty take care of my kids, after he done grievin," he somberly raps.
Quite possibly the greatest collaboration to date between the Carters. The uptempo banger sees vintage production from Pharrell and additional ad-lib vocals from Migos' Quavo and Offset. Jay gets back to his classic braggadocio while taking aim at the Grammy Awards, where he didn't notch a victory in the eight categories he was nominated for in 2018. Later in the verse, Hova reignites his beef with the NFL and references turning down a potential half-time performance at the Super Bowl. Chief Keef is on the receiving end of another JAY-Z shout-out as well. A coinciding visual for the track dropped alongside the album. The artistic clip is shot at the Louvre Palace in Paris with video direction from Ricky Saiz, who helmed Bey's 2013 "Yoncé" video.