I Can't Call It: Beyonce

Posted On Friday, December 20, 2013


So, I’m sitting around on a Thursday night watching the Trailblazers/Rockets game (naw, I don’t rock with Scandal at all) and I start peeping cats on twitter talking about that Beyonce just released a new album straight to itunes. No promotion, so singles, no videos…no nuthin. And guess what? I could care less. See, I’ve never been a Beyonce fan. I respect the hell outta shorty cause best believe that Mrs. Carter is a hustler just like her husband but me being a fan? Naw…no haps. So at first I figured, she was just following in the footsteps of her husband with the way he dropped his “Magna Carter” album but then I started seeing lil things here and there about how Sony didn’t believe in the album and that they weren’t gonna put any money into promoting it and they wanted her to scrap it and have her start from scratch and B wasn’t having it so she decided to drop it straight to itunes with no help from the label. So, after hearing that, two things came to mind. Number one, I’m ALWAYS intrigued when a label doesn’t like an artist’s music because those are the albums that get shelved and those shelved albums are usually some of the best music that we can lay our ears on (see Bilal’s “Love For Sale”, INI’s “Center of Attention”, KMD’s “Black Bastards”, Large Professor’s “The LP”, Q Tip’s “Kamal the Abstract just to name a few) and number two is, so Beyonce just played the big joker and said “f-ck the label…I’m gonna drop this myself.” Word?!?!? So this is Beyonce’s f-ck the man album?!?!?! Oh…if that’s the case then I’m ALL ears. 

“All these record labels boring/I don’t trust these record labels” 



“Pretty Hurts” sets the album off and the best way to explain it is to imagine TLC’s “Unpretty”…but 100 times better. Beyonce sings, “pretty hurts/shine the light on whatever worse/perfection is the disease of a nation/trying to fix something that you can’t see/it’s the soul that needs the surgery.” Yup…that about sums up what every chick from 10 to 50 years old is somehow, someway battling with everyday. “Haunted” is sick and has an ill house feel to it, the Pharrell and Timbaland produced “Blow” is like a throwback battle circa ’84 between Prince and The Time for bragging rights of the 1st Ave stage while “You’re No Angel” has B telling her man “underneath the pretty face, it’s something complicated/I come with a set of trouble but I know that’s why you’re staying/because you’re no angel either.” “Yonce” flat out BANGS and lets B give ya’ll her 2013 Chuck D spill on the radio, “radio says speed it up/I just go slow” and “Partition” has B showing her freaky side, “driver roll up the partition please/I don’t need you seeing Yonce on her knees/took 45 minutes to get all dressed up/we ain’t even gonna make it to this club/now my mascara running, red lipstick, smudged/oh he’s so horny, yeah he wants to f-ck/he popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse/he Monica Lewinski all on my gown” over a Timbo banger that I’m still waiting for Lil John to come on and scream “yeaaaaaaaah.” “Jealous” has B venting, “I’m in my penthouse half naked/I cooked this meal for you naked/so where the hell you at/it’s just one shot left of this drink in this glass/don’t make me break/I wish you were me, so you can feel this feeling/I never broke one promise/and I know that you’re not honest” but then turning around to flip the script on her dude, “take it one step further, freak up dress out my closet/Beyonce filling out this skirt/I look damn good, I ain’t lost it/and I ain’t miss the beat/boy you been hanging out tonight, I’m staying out til tomorrow/dancing on them tables/ain’t got no cares, no sorrows/I ran into my ex, said what up to his bestes/now we reminiscing on how we used to flex in Texas/don’t be jealous” and the Timbo produced “Rocket” sounds like D’Angelo and Raphael Saadiq had this stashed in their vaults from the "Voodoo" sessions and I’ve always said that there’s so much to say about the way a song gets set off (see Steele’s verse on Bucktown, “I walk around town with a pound strapped down” & Jeru’s Come Clean, “you wanna front what/jump up and get bucked”) well let’s just say B sets this off lovely by simply saying, “let me sit this ass on you” and the song only gets better from that point on. 

“Soul not for sale/probably won’t make no money off this/oh well” 



“Mine” has B and Drake going back and forth over a Noah ”40” Shebib produced banger about the only thing missing in their lives, “on my mind, up past my bedtime/no rest at the kingdom/alone in my place, my heart is away/all that I can think of is/we should get married/we should get married/let’s stop holding back on this and lets get carried away”, the Dream penned “XO” is dope and probably the closest thing to the classic “Beyonce sound” on this album and “Flawless” is just flat out bananas and will mos def be the ladies’ anthem for getting dressed for the club for years to come. On the Pharell produced “Superpower” featuring Frank Ocean, B reminds me of some classic Lauryn Hill (not the 6 kids Lauryn Hill but the “I only got Zion” Lauryn Hill) but I can’t front, it confuses the hell outta me. But then again, anything that Frank Ocean does confuses me, so that’s nothing new. A lot of folk have been saying “Heaven” is about B’s miscarriage and with lyrics like “I fought for you the longest/it made me the strongest/so tell me your secrets/I can’t stand to see you leaving/heaven couldn’t wait for you/so go on, go home” I can see that and if so it just makes me dig the song that much more and unless you don’t have a heart like the Tin Man and got “f-ck the world” tattooed across your chest, then there’s no way you can’t love the album’s ending cut “Blue.” Sometimes these walls seem to cave in me/when I look in your eyes, I feel alive/somedays we say words that don’t mean a thing/but when you’re holding me tight, I feel alive.” 



"If you scared, call that reverend"

But my favorite banger on the album is EASILY the Boots produced “Drunk In Love.” See, I never was a fan of any of their past collabos. “Crazy In Love”, “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Déjà vu” were all too soft for me…plus it just didn’t seem like these two had any real chemistry together. To me, back then all of the hype was about were these two really dating which I could’ve cared less about. But it wasn’t til they dropped “Part 2 (On the Run)” off Jay’s “Magna Carter that these two sounded good together and that B was more then just a guest appearance. But one thing you don’t gotta worry about  is “Drunk In Love” being soft, “I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking/I get filthy when that liquor gets into me/I’ve been thinking, I’ve been thinking/why can’t I keep my fingers off you baby” and when Jay ends the song with “we sex again in the morning, your breasteses are my breakfast” it lets me know that THIS was the Jay Z/Beyonce collabo I’d been waiting 10+ years to hear. 



The other night I was on the phone with my brother Ev and in the middle of us talking about our usually hip hop hoopla, I brought up B’s new album and we ended up talking about this jawn for a least a hour! It was like we were talking about a MC Lyte or a Queen Latifah album from 25+ years ago! Why? Cause to me this album is damn near harder then the average hip hop album that drops in 2013. (Jay did tell ya'll "my baby momma harder then a lot of you n-ggas") B’s talking her sh-t, repping the 3rd Ward and Houston like never before, cursing like she’s from Marcy and telling these other R&B b-tches to bow down cause “this my sh-t?!?!?!?” Sounds like a hip hop album to me, and that’s why I love it. See, my favorite kind of music, is music that reflects the artist and I think this album reflects who Beyonce REALLY is. Now, I could be wrong cause some folk are saying she’s just being more ratchet and being over the top with all of the sex talk to tap into that Rihanna and Lady Gaga crowd to get more sales but come on…does Beyonce really need to tap into two 2nd tier chicks to get more sales? Naw…not at all. I feel like the majority of recording artist spend their entire careers being who the label and who the fans want them to be and they never get a chance to let THEIR music reflect who they are. But I think this go round Beyonce finally gets that chance to make the kind of music that SHE wanted to make and if that’s true, how can ya’ll not rock with that? 

4.5 outta 5

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