Everything Is Love is the nine–track finale to the trilogy of the Carters’ albums about adultery and apology. It’s full of mentions of the couple’s wealth, their love, and their race, and is a bold new direction for two mega–stars (or one mega–star and Jay).
Both artists come through in their entirety, with beats like 4:44’s and melody like Lemonade’s. Who exactly had more sway over the album—and the clear star of the couple—is clear once you realize Beyonce and Jay’s respective roles in the record, and it’s indicative of exactly what type of artist each is.
Jay does nothing new; Beyonce does. He delivers clever, catchy verses, and contributed to the overall sound of the record, with his producer credit and classic rap texture coming through in most tracks. She belts choruses, layers her voice into each melody, and picks up a few trap sections and verses, which sounds nothing like the Beyonce we knew in 4 or Beyonce and more along the lines of who we got to know in Lemonade, but with an overall more gritty sound and more classic rap influence. It’s truly a Beyonce we’ve never seen before. She’s also on eight out of the ten songs on Everything is Love, ahead of her husband in every credit.
Jay does no harm on Everything is Love, but it’s Beyonce who proves that, even as a mother of three children with nearly thirty years in the music industry, she can still surprise her fans and be as effective in a rap setting as her husband.
In “713” Bey goes from singing a pre–chorus to rapping the chorus “I’m representin’ for my hustlers all across the world. Still dippin’ in my low–lows girl.” Although the bulk of the song deals with Beyonce’s experience, she proves she can do the part usually done by a rapper. She doesn't glitz up her chorus with runs or make it bubbly, but instead, gives us a darker version of a Destiny’s child verse.
She does the same thing in “APESHIT,” where the members of Migos sing background as she raps about a “crowd goin’ apeshit” and provides a few guttural roars to demonstrate.
Maybe the best thing about Beyonce is that she never gives her fans the same thing twice, and the opposite may be the best thing about Jay. His musical consistency has given him a considerable cult following, Grammys, and millions in sales. The sound of 4:44 is not so different from Reasonable Doubt, its predecessor from 1996.
His wife has amassed a similar cult following, though she has achieved it while also managing to stay ahead of modern Pop’s curve. There’s a lot to be said about an artist who has stayed on top, kept her following, and pushed music forward all at once. And that’s why we’ll never stop talking about Queen B.