Surprise! Jay Z and Beyoncé casually announced their joint album during the London stop of their On the Run II tour on Saturday (6/16): “We want you guys to be the first to experience this new project.”
After debuting their visual for “APESHIT” to the lucky crowd, without warning, the pair released their collaborative album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE, to the rest of the world. All signs pointing to a joint album were there. Rumors had been circulating about it since Beyoncé dropped her controversial visual album, LEMONADE. Following Jay’s repentant 4:44, working together was the obvious next move. Plus, if you’re a real Hov fan, then you know when he goes without getting a haircut he is in album mode.
For the “APESHIT” visual, the couple did the unthinkable by renting out the world famous Louvre. Throughout the video dancers perform incredible routines as they come dangerously close to touching the priceless artworks. Hov and Bey pose in front of ancient Egyptian relics, the revered Greek statue of the goddess of victory, Nike, and Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic work, making the statement that black love proves worthy of existing alongside these priceless pieces, and subsequently, everywhere.
This album finds the Carter’s renewing their vows and providing closure to the trilogy. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé and she aired him out on her LEMONADE LP. Hov followed up by putting a prolific apology on wax with his very mature 4:44 LP, stripping away his womanizing persona and replacing it with that of a man who was ready to hold himself accountable. Things are good now in the Carter household. “We were using our art almost like a therapy session,” Jay told The New York Times, last year. “And we started making music together.”
EVERYTHING IS LOVE—plus another standalone track called “SALUD!”—is, in fact, The Carter’s therapy session. A true testament to forgiveness and reconciliation. The project feature’s contributions from Migos’ Quavo and Offset, Ty Dolla $ign—as well as impressive production from Pharrell, Cool & Dre, Illmind, Mike Dean, Vinylz, Boi-1da, and more. The album also serves as an ode to their children Blue, Sir and Rumi.
It kicks off with “SUMMER,” declaring that love conquers all, which sets a clear tone for the rest of the album. On “713” Jay recalls how their love story started, closing out the track by thanking all women for teaching men how to love. “Black queen, you rescued us, you rescued us, rescued us,” he raps affirmatively. While Jay has absolutely caught his second wind, delivering some of his best rapping ever, Beyoncé is an adequate match for her husband. On “HEARD ABOUT US” and “713” Queen Bey pays homage to rap greats Snoop Dogg and Notorious B.I.G. by putting her own twist on their iconic flows. That is an excellent metaphor to where he is now in maturity, exchanging his braggadocios raps for more introspective bars. Jay makes it clear he doesn’t forget anything, dishing some ear-raising bars for his “little brother” Kanye West on “FRIENDS.” In his verse, Hov addresses comments Ye made in his two-hour Charlamagne tha God interview, where he expressed he was let down by The Carters not attending his 2014 wedding with Kim Kardashian. Jay raps, “I ain’t goin’ to nobody nothin’ when me and my wife beefin’/I don’t care if the house on fire,I’m dyin’, n—a, I ain’t leavin’/…If y’all don’t understand that, we ain’t meant to be friends.” Jay also continues his subliminal war of words with Drake on “BOSS.” “N—-s getting jerked, that shit hurts, I take it personally/N—-s rather work for the man than to work with me.” That bar was an obvious reference to Drake turning down a contract with Tidal to accept a $19 million contract with Apple. The Carters also have some words for their “Haters.” Hov takes aim at the NFL, admitting he turned down the offer to perform at last year’s Superbowl, declaring they needed him and not the other way around. He goes on to let the GRAMMY committee know being shut out of last year’s ceremony didn’t phase him, rapping, “Tell the Grammys fuck that 0 for eight shit.”On “NICE,” Beyoncé raps she could care less about streams, and if she did, she’d of put LEMONADE on rival streaming service Spotify. On the closing track “LOVEHAPPY,” the two deliver Sonny and Cher comedic relief, acknowledging the trials they’ve faced together. They playfully go back and forth, ending the album with the genuine sentiment that they’re in a good place: “We came, and we saw, and we conquered it all/We came, and we conquered, now we’re happy in love.”
EVERYTHING IS LOVE serves as a metaphoric victory lap for the couple—living out their very private lives through their music, taking the power away from the tabloids and gossip columns. Since their early collaborations they’ve always projected a narrative centered around how perfect their love for one another was. On their latest projects they humanized themselves by revealing to us that they have the same problems we do—gracefully telling the world that everything that glitters ain’t gold, but you can polish it til’ it shines.