Jay-Z and Beyonce - APESHIT

After The Carters (Beyoncé & Jay-Z) shocked the world and released their 9-track joint album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE, there has been immense feedback. Released earlier this month, the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Of course, whenever Beyoncé does anything, the masses completely lose their minds. However, there has been a rather… mixed quantity of reviews. While some have shared their obsession for the new music from Bey and Jay, many have also expressed that they are not necessarily here for the new tunes…

EVERYTHING IS LOVE follows both Bey’s LEMONADE (2016) and Jay’s 4:44 (2017) to conclude this revealing trilogy. This time around, the two come together for a joint effort, having gone through the trials and tribulations of their marriage, self-discovery, and healing to ultimately commemorate the never-ending love they have for each other. They weathered the storm and they are much stronger than they were before.

The album’s opener “SUMMER” exudes LEMONADE (specifically “All Night”) vibes as Bey effortlessly goes on about making love to her husband. She has now forgiven him and just wants to love him even more. This is one of the stronger songs on the album. Bey’s voice is powerful. She is raw and says exactly what is on her mind, pertaining to her man. Produced by Cool & Dre, the record is a complete vibe. It’s utterly mellow and soothing. You’re instantly lost in the ocean of Beyonce’s voice as she harmonizes. The melody is so enjoyable that you can play the song over and over again. Jay quickly joins and further paints this vivid image, as he raps about making love to his wife and really just being with her forever.

The peaceful energy left from the opening immediately erupts as we arrive at the Pharrell-produced “APES**T”, where Bey transforms into an actual monster, as she thunders down the track with such a heavy flow and rap skill. Assisted by Quavo and Offset and their larger-than-life adlibs, Bey begins with her mind already focused on the coin. “Give me my Check / Put some Respek on my check / Or pay me in equity (pay me in equity) / Watch me reverse out of debt,” she raps. The flow mimics that rapid flow of Migos, but the execution gives nothing but pure Beyoncé attitude. With clever lines, metaphors, and her natural swag, Bey literally went off in every way possible. While Bey is clearly the main focus of the song, Jay blazes through the track, beginning with a reference to Chicago’s own “Chief Keef,” before addressing the NFL, Superbowl, and his Grammy snub. The track is honestly insane. This the first time ever that we see Jay AND Bey together on this insane trap beat. Regardless of how anyone feels, Bey and Jay bodied the song and it gets you pumped at any time of the day.

“BOSS” brings the focus on financial stability and pulls a page from Jay’s 4:44. With a mixture of singing and flowing, Bey discusses the wealth they already have set for their great-great-grandchildren and even boldly declares that their family line will be on Forbes’ radar. Jay-Z maintains the theme as he raps about deeming success on the wealth of those around you, rather than just yourself. The song is very cocky. Even with the chorus, Bey says over and over that it “ain’t nothing to it” — the flex is too easy. I love it so much. The production has such an elegant appeal. It’s such a classy stunt record. It makes you feel like a head honcho. The Carters remind everyone who has been running the game and who truly is the “BOSS.”

The album’s next track, “NICE,” also produced by (and features) Pharrell, is a summer anthem. The production actually mimics that of Lil Uzi Vert’s “Neon Guts.” With heavy bass and futuristic appeal, Bey and Pharrell chant “I can do anything, yeah / hell nah, hell nah, hell nah, hell nah.” There’s nothing better than a bragging Jigga. Jay, of course, delivers yet another solid, cocky verse and sets the tone, however, Beyonce “the rapper” steals the show yet again and even throws some shade while doing it. Queen Bey swiftly lets everyone know that if she actually cared about streams she would’ve put her 2016 album, LEMONADE, on Spotify. She channels the same bravado that we usually associate with Jigga. Pharrell joins the song with a quick verse and the three come together to create one of those catchy celebratory summer tunes that you will definitely blast with all the windows down.

“FRIENDS” is my PERSONAL favorite. Here, the two give light to those real ones they have in their life. Produced by Jahaan Sweet and Boi-1da, and co-produced by NAV and Sevn Thomas, the track also has a futuristic effect, but the lyrics are what grab you instantly. Both Jay and Bey look back on the relationships they have and the people they call their “friends.” Jay talks about being there for his friends and vice versa, as they have been there for him. It is the most relatable record on the album. Beyonce’s vocals and delivery are outstanding. The message just really makes the song stand out more than anything! When Bey says, “Your friends are foes / My friends are goals/ Closer than kin, our souls exposed,” it makes you want to call up your closest friends and just tell them how much you love them.

Everything Is Love is more of a celebration than anything else. “713” furthers the celebration of the love the two have for each other. In “713,” Yoncé plays on Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Still D.R.E” hook, as she shows love to her hometown, Houston Texas. She bellows of how she and Jay’s love is unstoppable and will under no circumstances halt. Jay reminisces about the earlier part of their relationship and the mistakes he even made then. The song tells a story. As the song ends, Jay pays homage to black women by deeming them the hustlers’ rescuers. In “HEARD ABOUT US,” Beyoncé makes it known that everyone knows about them and to watch your mouth around them. Jay-Z brags about their wealth and high status. His happiness escalates as he gushes over his wife. “It’s Beyoncé n*gga. Oh, my God.”

“BLACK EFFECT” is a complete celebration of black excellence. The Carters are no strangers to showcasing their blackness in every way possible. Whether it be attire, brands, deals, and even bringing awareness of police brutality, they never hold anything back. Bey and Jay refer to Trayvon Martin, Malcolm X, Kalief Browder, Sarah Baartman, and even MLK. They focus on the current condition of the African American community, while also exhibiting an example of black excellence.

The album’s closer, “LOVEHAPPY,” shows the current status of Bey and Jay’s relationship, as they go back and forth about their enduring love. Regardless of the pain and obstacles, they will remain forever in love. The track is refreshing and authentic. I mean, the Queen even reveals that she met the person who nearly ruined their kingdom. Jay unveils that they basically broke up, but got back together, and instead of some materialistic apology, he gathered the family and moved them to the West. Beyonce’s vocals once again shine like no other and the two create a beautiful ending to the album. They play off of one another and it makes for a great listen.

Overall, EVERYTHING IS LOVE is solid for me. No, it is not by far, the greatest album ever, but it is not awful in any shape or form. It makes for a good listen. It still manages to tell a story, and honestly, it is just so fun to listen to. The two literally sound so happy and it shows in the songs. Even if you are not into every single song, the album definitely contains gems. The production is good, Jay-Z does not disappoint, and Beyoncé continues to wow us all with her innovative thinking. Who would have ever thought we’d hear Bey straight up rapping? Now, regardless of if you like the style of rapping she does, you can not deny that her attitude and appeal are dope. I was also very impressed seeing both Bey and Jay credited as producers on every song, along with the additional producers/co-producers. The album ends the trilogy of revelation on a good note. The love that these two have for each other has been tested and they passed the test. Whether you hate them or love them, you will respect their craft and their work ethic. Everything Is Love further solidifies both Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s legacy as great artists.