Picture it: Saturday Night in Frisco, TX at the Ford Center at The Star. My first boxing match, a prize fight: Errol Spence Jr. Vs. Carlos Ocampo. Cowboy QB Dak Prescott, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, Boosie Badazz, fellow boxers, the Charlo Twins, Radio Personality Bay Bay, and of course the owner of the house, Jerry Jones were in attendance. More importantly, I was with my Father on Father’s Day weekend along with my brothers-in-law. As local artist, Yellabeezy walked the DeSoto native, Spence, to the ring, after several undercards including two title fights and two different matches were boxers fell out of the ring, my only thought was: I can’t wait to go home and listen to this Beyoncé & Jay-Z album that popped on my phone.

There were rumors that Jay-Z &Beyoncé were creating a joint album after the successful releases of their respective solos, Lemonade and 4:44. “On The Run” and “Drunk In Love” are the only collabo songs from Rumi and Sir’s parents that I’ve enjoyed from their illustrious careers. I hate to say it, but I’m on the fence about this Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter person. I remember seeing “No No No (Part 2)” and “Bills, Bills, Bills” on BET way back when Letoya was in Destiney’s Child. I was there on my laptop at 3 in the morning watching the phenomenal Coachella performance earlier this year. Two days later, I was listening to a playlist of that same setlist and got bored halfway. I know King Bey is one of the greatest living entertainers, but I’m not the biggest fan of all of her music. I enjoyed Lemonade, as a visual album and the discussions that birth from it about love, Black women’s importance, and Mrs. Carter’s use of her platform against police brutality. All this to say, I don’t have a favorite Beyoncé album and if I don’t like this album, I’ll probably blame her, but first I gotta leave and listen to this album. Spence Jr. won in a first round KO with 0:01 second left on the clock defeating the undefeated Ocampo. I was ready to listen to this album, but at least three rounds, champs. Anyway, congratulations. Man Down. Let’s enjoy the last month of my 6 months free trial of Tidal with this review of Everything Is Love.

1. Summer
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cool & Dre, & El Michels
I will be riding around with this playing at dusk for the next 3 months. The production from Cool & Dre is the score for that moment in the day before darkness takes over the day. Based on the romantic vacation instrumental and Rory from Stone Love giving the intro/Damien Marley delivering the outro, this has to be the video they were shooting in Jamaica a few months ago. Beyoncé’s voice was made to lure. She is the modern day siren as she brings listeners into her world post-reconciliation with her husband, who happens to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Hov is not off to a great start as he seems to be trying to find the pocket for this beat. While B gives us the feelings of vacation while in love, Jay tries to provide visuals of life before and after marriage:

I don’t have no concept of time
Even with a rose gold Concept on me
I remember summer nights in the projects
Bullet rounds interrupting my Chi
When the worst thing that could happen
Zipped up his jacket and ran back down the street
In Bel-Air, only the nights get cold
I wrapped a yellow jacket ’round Bey
It’s not lost on me, music has my kids sound asleep

“Bullet rounds fuck up my chi”. I like “Therapy Jay-Z”, there’s wisdom and insight that can only come from a man that has seen it all. With that said, I still give it to Beyoncé for this song and shoutout to Damien Marley on the outro.

Love is universal
Love is going to express itself as a form of forgiveness and compassion for each other

Beyoncé: 1

Jay-Z: 0

2. Apeshit
Produced by Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, & Stuart White
I still can’t believe the biggest criticism about Watch The Throne was too much big money talk. It has to be because it is not a fantasy, there really is a Basquiat painting in Case De Carter. “Apeshit” is the best “shit talking” this year, “ALL FAX”. He did turn down a Super-Bowl halftime performance but is performing at the same football stadiums on tour. He said it on “99 Problems” about advertisers, radio stations using his image but not giving him the credit he deserves, so of course, it’s “Fuck the Grammys”.

I’m like Chief Keef meet Rafiki—who been lyin’ “King” to you?
Pocket, watch it, like kangaroos
Tell these clowns we ain’t amused
‘Nana clips for that monkey business, 4-5 got change for you
Motorcades when we came through
Presidential with the planes too
One better get you with the residential
Undefeated with the ‘caine too
I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don’t need you
Every night we in the end zone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too
Last night was a fuckin’ zoo
Stagedivin’ in a pool of people
Ran through Liverpool like a fuckin’ Beatle
Smoke gorilla glue like it’s fuckin’ legal
Tell the Grammy’s fuck that 0 for 8 shit
Have you ever seen the crowd goin’ apeshit?

Happy for Quavo and Offset for providing the structure for the song (Where was Takeoff?). Still not the biggest fan of the song because of the contemporary Trap production from Pharell and uninspired chorus, but BARS. The video BODIED because of its setting, aesthetics, and themes. Modern artists with contemporary music in the home of some of the oldest masterpieces the world has ever seen.

Beyoncé: 2

Jay – Z: 1

3. Boss
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, D’Mile, Mike Dean, MeLo-X, Derek Dixie, & Stuart White
Even though the previous song was the first taste from Everything Is Love, I’ve been hearing “Boss” on my radio station in Dallas. Not my favorite, but definitely not an immediate skip. The inclusion of the horns takes me back to the legendary Coachella performance with the marching band. The Carters question everyone else’s motivations for success if it isn’t about securing the bag for friends, family, and future generations. I want to believe so bad that Beyoncé listens to Drink Champs podcast as she uses N.O.R.E’s “You gotta relax” catchphrase. BOSS!

Beyoncé: 3

Jay – Z: 2

4. Nice
Produced by Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé, & Jay-Z
This is made for all the young kids to do their best impression of Lil Uzi Vert doing the shoot dance. The beat is basically “Neon Guts” Pt. 2, but I enjoy this take on the current sound more than “Apeshit”. I know the joke online is Beyoncé washed Jay-Z on this album, but I do believe that Beyoncé has the best verse on this song. I played “Nice” at least 9x one day, battling myself with trying to decide who the winner was: Jay has the more meaningful lines, while B has the impact and delivery. It’s the Pusha T vs. Malice argument all over again. No Jalice takes the reflective route as a Black man that escaped the death or prison ending for most drug dealers, but ironically, still has to go to court after going legit :

Yeah, fuck your subpoenas and your misdemeanors
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?
What would you do, you knew you couldn’t fail
I have no fear of anything, do everything well
I have no fear of jail, I was born in the trap
I have no fear of death, we all born to do that
It’s just life, I’m just nice, tonight I might, raise my price
Great advice, damn you, Hov, Jesus Christ

Hold up! Did he just say “I have no fear of jail, I was born in the trap/I have no fear of death, we all born to do that”? WOW.

Pusha B chooses to talk about her effect on the world, all facts, no humble talk:

Patiently waiting for my demise
‘Cause my success can’t be quantified
If I gave two fucks, two fucks about streaming numbers
Would have put Lemonade up on Spotify
Fuck you (woo), fuck you
You’re cool, fuck you, I’m out (Ah!)
I ain’t never seen a ceiling in my whole life (uh-uh)
That’s word to Blue
Freestyling live (freestyling live)
Blueprint from my Jigga who never writes
I’m so ni-i-ice (woo)
I’m everybody type (uh), goddamn right (haa)
I’m so nice (ah), Jesus Christ (rah)
I’m better than the hype (gah), I give you life (life)

Both incredible verses that take multiple listens to catch most of what is being said, but Mrs. Carter last lines before giving the last minute of the song to Pharell puts her on top:

Last name ‘gon be here forever
Now we finna float like feathers
Me and Hova do it like rebels
Most of y’all jits got pebbles
I got the Rocs and the Fella

Yoooo!!!!! That last couplet; Anytime you bring up nostalgia of The R.O.C.’s glory days, you get a win from me; not only did the woman from Houston get the money and fame, but she got a partner that will hold her down; that’s an incredible bar and brag.

Beyoncé: 4

Jay-Z: 3

5. 713
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cool & Dre, 808-Ray, & Fred Ball
This has to be the song that plays at day parties. Mr. Carter tells the story of how he first met Beyoncé and started their courtship. It’s not a bad song, and it is worth it to hear Beyoncé rep her hometown by reusing the chorus her husband wrote for Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E”, but it’s not one of my favorites. I’m appreciating seeing this apology tour from his music, performances, and to his interviews in the past year. Not only did he move away from the East Coast life he knew, he also misses out on an opportunity to give another anthem to New York. This year, I’m just now realizing that he also has to apologize to the Bey-Hive for disrespecting their Queen.

To all the good girls that love hustlers
To the mothers that put up with us
To all the babies that suffered ’cause us
We only know love because of ya
America is a motherfucka to us, lock us up, shoot us
Shoot our self-esteem down, we don’t deserve true love
Black queen, you rescued us, you rescued us, rescued us

There has been a lot of talk of Black women tired of being the bottom step for taking people to the next level or being the blanket to cover men from the cold shoulder of the world. Hope it’s not too late for Mr. Carter to be rewarded of their love and support.

Beyoncé: 5

Jay-Z: 3

6. Friends
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet, Nav, Sevn Thomas, & Fred Ball
I was just thinking that this project is very upbeat compared to its predecessors. It even made me finally realize why I don’t like Bounce music or Gospel music. There are no sad songs in either genre. Finally, I get an ominous beat and real talk about relationships with the acquaintances that are adopted close to the family circle. Sorry for my bias, if you think I’m too focused on Jay-Z’s performance on this project, but the growth from the writer of “So Ghetto” is incredible. We are in the era of “Therapy Hov”, we can hear the thoughts of a seasoned Vet and can relate:

Ten toes, ten toes, we was out in that road, uh
Lookin’ for love in wrong places, we proposed to a stove, yeah
Shared jewels, shared clothes, that’s how deep this shit goes, yeah
Every week, ya got bros, all of y’all fake close, yeah
Y’all switchin’ sides like NBA teams just after halftime
I’m pullin’ up on my dog, make sure he okay, I don’t even have time
He copped me a Porsche with butterscotch seats, this ‘fore they had mils
Live better than rappers and they don’t even have deals, that real
Bought Emory a BM as soon as he came home
We hopped on a plane, headed straight to the Bay
That’s how we turn the game on, it’s game on
Ty mama died, I was there, my nephew died, he was there
He in my house more than I be there, more than Bey there
Ty-Ty there, E there, Breezy there, Juan there
High here, Chaka there, Law there, they all here, ah yeah
Dez there, Kwanna here, shit feel like Nirvana here
Crib like the Soho House, I might stay in and grow out my hair
Tight circle, no squares, I’m geometrically opposed to you
Y’all like to try angles, y’all like to troll, do you?
Y’all talk around hoes, do you? Y’all don’t follow codes, do you?
We know everything you say from niggas close to you, you emotional
When I say, “Free the dogs,” I free ’em, that’s how Meek got his freedom
Y’all put niggas on a t-shirt, it hurts you ain’t never meet ’em
You got niggas in the feds, you ain’t even tryna feed ’em
I’m tryna free the world, that’s how deep I’m in
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’, nigga, I ain’t leavin’
Ty-Ty take care of my kids, after he done grievin’
If y’all don’t understand that, we ain’t meant to be friends

Remember when I said that Beyoncé’s voice was alluring? After basically reading off a VIP guest list, the Queen makes being their friend even more desirable with acknowledging that her friends are goals while everyone else’s buddies are actually foes.

Beyoncé: 5

Jay-Z: 4

7. Heard About Us
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet, Nav, Jahaan Sweet, Vinylz, & Illmind
The kickdrum of the production has a strong 80’s influence. Please, producers, correct me if “kickdrum” is not the proper term. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an episode of BLAPChat. I know for sure Illmind can’t wait to sell Blapkits from his contribution of this one. You think you know, but you have no idea, this is the diary of two of the biggest artists in the world, Craig. I’ve heard the jokes before but I really didn’t know Jay-Z had a paternity case. Thank God, artists like them are utilizing home studios and technology to record while on the road, because the content in Jay’s verses are so timely, referencing court cases that were just reported a month ago with Tidal and the sale of his stake in RocaWear. Y’all hear that? It’s growth. No longer is Jay-Z on mentioning his drug past, Father, and nephews whenever he wanted to show vulnerability.

Beyoncé: 5

Jay-Z: 5

8. Black Effect
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, & Cool & Dre
Choreographer, Artistic Director, and founder of the L’Acadco: A United Caribbean Dance Force, Dr. Lenora Antoinette Stines opens the track telling us about love in her sweet Jamaican accent:

Hmm, well there’s love of children
Love of self
Love of God
Love of a partner
All of them have a different shape
But all of them is the same in the end
It’s about sensitivity, it’s about passion
It’s about unconditional giving of self to another person
And there’s love of humanity
That’s the love that is right now needed most
Love of humanity
But in everything, in all of that love, there is a soul
It’s like when you take some eggs and break them
And you take the shells and mix them up
Trying to find the ones that match
And you find the perfect match
When you find the perfect match
That compatibility results in passion
Results in unconditional giving of self

I think Jamaicans might have saved Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s marriage, judging by their inclusion of people from the island country on this album. I wish Jamrock could have saved season 2 of Luke Cage. Babylon ting. Anyway.

MY FAVORITE SONG!!!!!!!

I’m good on any MLK Boulevard (I’m good)
I’m good on any MLK Boulevard (He good)
See my vision with a TEC, bitch, I’m Malcolm X (I’m Malcolm X)
Haters dreadin’ my effect, they want that Das EFX (Yeah)
Get your hands up high like a false arrest (put your hands up high)
Let me see ’em up high, this is not a test (let me see ’em up high)
Yes, put ’em up, this is not a test
Put your hands where I can see them, fuck a false arrest

As a Jay-Z fan, I can admit that hooks have been Shawn’s achilles heel throughout his career. Most of the time it’s either the sample doing the hook or a guest doing the chorus work. Mr. Carter is more known for his verses being memorable, but when the hook works, we get “Big Pimpin'”, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, or “Song Cry”. This right here tho.  “I’m good on every MLK Blvd!” BRUH! This guy, man. Every line spoken on this song is a quotable and reference to Black history and its rich culture.

This Off-White fit that I rock, shit permanent
Hmm, the fro that I grow got no perm in it
Hmm, a nigga late but he best dressed
Got slowed down by the weight of my necklaces
Parked the Lexus in the projects, bitch I’m reckless
Extra magazine hopped on a jet with my Ebony chick
Blacker than the Essence fest
The behind the back pass is so effortless
LeBron James to you Omaroses
Dapper Dan at 4AM, shit, I am the culture
I made my own waves so now they’re anti-Tidal
I’m livin’ the no sock life despite you
Since the Kalief doc, they’ve been at my neck
Y’all can tell ’em Trayvon is comin’ next
The SEC, the FBI or the IRS
I pass the alphabet boys like an eye test

Everytime I hear this song I have the same reaction after watching Beyoncé’s Coachella performance: This needs to be taught in schools during Black History Month. Like everyone else, meeting Beyoncé is the best thing to happen to Jay -Z. Not only does she wash Jay-Z on “Nice”, she also is the best hype man (She Good!) bringing more “umph” to the victorious track that I’m surprised isn’t titled, Black Excellence. Mrs. Carter adds the Black woman’s perspective that I hope is in the profile bio of the next woman I swipe right.

I’m good anywhere I go, anywhere I go (go)
I pull up like the Freedom Riders, hop out on Rodeo

Stunt with your curls, your lips, Sarah Baartman hips
Gotta hop into my jeans like I hop into my whip yeah
Mobbin’ in a hoodie like Melo

Come up out that pretty motherfucker like “Hello, Hello”
I will never let you shoot the nose off my Pharaoh

We have references to Black-centric publications, the Freedom Riders, cooking Soul Food used as a metaphor for cooking crack. There is even a reference to Amandla Stenberg‘s “Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows”.

They even biting cornrows, put your scarecrows up
I come from the finest crop

No cultural appropriation allowed here. I think we should all take a second and acknowledge that this dude is different. He shouldn’t be rapping this well in his late 40’s on an album with his wife. Old? Love? Nah, it’s about being emotionally closed off in your 20’s. What is this? Grown man/woman rap music.

Beyoncé: 6

Jay-Z: 6

9. LoveHappy
Produced by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cool & Dre, David Andrew Sitek, & Nova Wav
Eddie and Ernie welcome us to the end of our journey to examine a marriage that was saved after bouts of distrust and lies.“Hova and Bey-zus, watch the thrones”. BOW! The King and Queen have spoken, the union is still strong all it needed was a vow renewal and a new ring.

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’re workin’
We’re flawed but we’re still perfect for each other
Sometimes I thought we’d never see the light
Went through hell with heaven on our side
This beach ain’t always been no paradise
But nightmares only last one night
(Happy in love)

Beyoncé: 7

Jay-Z: 7

BOTTOM LINE:
Final Result: Love Wins. The Carters are artists first, then bosses. They put their lives into their music instead revealing personal issues on social media. Then use their notoriety to promote the music on their streaming service while on tour. 9 tracks, less than 40 minutes; I can’t even count how many times I’ve listened to this album. It is a near-perfect album, but I can’t give it a 5-star rating just yet. I feel like I’m more impressed because of the low bar that I set when just the thought of Blue Ivy’s parents releasing a project together was even mentioned. Time has to be the ultimate decider if Everything Is Love is a classic. It took two weeks for me to finally write this review, but I finally realized that I need to walk away and come back to listen later to see if this “Album of the Year” contender can keep the same energy of love and happiness. As Jay-Z said in the ad-libs of “Summer”: “Let it breathe”.