Beyoncé and Jay-Z dropped their new album Everything Is Love this weekend as well as a sensational music video for the first single APESHIT. Under the name ‘The Carters’, they continue down the same road as with Lemonade; the couple once again packages a powerful political statement in a very symbolic, beautifully wrapped package. Oh yeah, they also manage to diss Spotify, the Super Bowl, and the Grammys as well. Mr. and Mrs. Carter make their point…
King Jay and Queen Bey were in the middle of their ‘royal tour’ of Europe, when they left us a very special surprise last Saturday. There were 56,000 people in the audience during their OTR II World Tour show in London Stadium when, all of a sudden, ‘Album Out Now’ appeared on the big screen. The 9 track long album Everything Is Love was, then, officially out!
The spectacular video for the single APESHIT is a taster for the listeners who can’t listen to the Tidal Exclusive album until it appears on Spotify and other streaming services on Monday.
What do the Carters want to say with this new release? The 9 track long album Everything Is Love is full of meaningful messages; we’ve picked out the most important ones for you.
The couple speak (not too modestly) about their assets and how it is to be on top. But they also speak about friendship, their roots (713, the title of the 5th track, is the postal code of the neighbourhood in Houston where Beyoncé grew up) and clap back at the criticism over the streaming service, Tidal.
Since Jay-Z took over the streaming service, The Carters have released their music exclusively on this platform. Spotify subscribers don’t have access. The couple have been accused of tampering with the streaming statistics of Lemonade. In NICE Bey responds to this:
If I gave two fucks – two fucks about streaming numbers
Would have put Lemonade up on Spotify
Fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you, I’m out (Ah!)
NICE – The Carters
If she had really cared about streaming statistics, she would have made her album available on Spotify.
Everything Is Love
The track LOVEHAPPY is like a clean slate for the couple; after all the drama on Bey’s album Lemonade and Jay’s apologies on 4:44, they leave Jay-Z’s philandering behind them for good and are now fully there for each other. Bey says:
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
The album ends with a quote from Julius Caesar, no less:
Damn, look at us now
Pray, pray for the vows
Way up now, yes, and a way, long way down
We came, and we saw, and we conquered it all
We came, and we conquered, now we’re happy in love
LOVEHAPPY – The Carters
Veni, Vidi, Vici – for The Carters, too!
Jay vs. Malcolm X
They also touch on the burning issue of civil rights, just like they did with Formation on Bey’s Lemonade. On BLACK EFFECT, the Carters show how proud they are of their African American background and how passionate they are about the fight for equal rights.
I’m good on any MLK Boulevard
I’m good on any MLK Boulevard
See my vision with a TEC, bitch, I’m Malcolm X
BLACK EFFECT – The Carters
MLK stands for Martin Luther King, who waged a peaceful campaign for equality. On the other hand, Malcolm X, found it justifiable to use violence. Jay compares himself to Malcolm X, but he uses his ‘tec’ (short for technology – referring to Tidal) as his weapon.
Next up is APESHIT, the first single. The music video, which is filmed in the Louvre in Paris, is quite remarkable (check it at the bottom of this article). It is not only a masterpiece in and of itself, but it also includes quite a few masterpieces by others. In the video, the couple dances around works from the Neoclassical era; the era of colonialism. Unsurprisingly, this theme is brought up for good reason.
Beyoncé’s mother is French/Creole and her ancestors lived through the colonisation of France and therefore also through slavery. They show us the stark contrast between the hard lives of their forefathers and the privileged position of those at the very top.
Every piece of art, combined with their poses, outfits, and camera angles in the video, tell a story about the position of black people and women throughout history up until today. The Washington Post made a video interpreting all the symbolism of APESHIT. Find a link to it at the end of this article.
Why monkey poop?
Additionally, the lyrics also contain a variety of symbols and hidden messages. For example, the song opens with the chorus, and besides just speaking about what they’ve earned and the heights they’ve reached, The Carters also express gratitude to their ancestors for all of the great sacrifices they had to make to earn freedom:
Stack my money fast and go (fast, fast, go)
Fast like a Lambo (skrrt, skrrt, skrrt)
I be jumpin’ off the stage, ho (jumpin’, jumpin’, hey, hey)
Crowd better savor (crowd goin’ ape, hey)
I can’t believe we made it (this is what we made, made)
This is what we’re thankful for (this is what we thank, thank)
I can’t believe we made it (this a different angle)
Have you ever seen the crowd goin’ apeshit? Rah!
It’s pretty obvious that ‘apeshit’ literally means monkey poop. But what meaning does this really hold? ‘Going apeshit’ is a commonly used expression which refers to someone losing it over something in anger or excitement. Funnily, Urban Dictionary, explains that the word stems from enraged apes of flinging their own feces at their object of anger. Luckily we’ve never seen a crowd goin’ this literal apeshit, but there is reason to be angry. Apeshit has more loaded references behind the song’s lyrics.
Bills bills bills
First of all, Bey demands a good- or at least fair– paycheck in the first verse. She seems to be referring to equal pay for women. After all, a girl’s gotta eat.
Gimme my check, put some respeck on my check
Or pay me in equity, pay me in equity
Or watch me reverse out the dick (skrrt)
She then tells us about their life of luxury; cash has gotta flow for The Carters!
The Lion King
We have Jay quoting his fellow rapper Chief Keef’s track Faneto in the first line of the second verse.
I’m a gorilla in the fuckin’ coupe, finna pull up in the zoo
There is some speculation that this means that he’s made it; that he gets to ride his coupé to the zoo to visit his locked up friends. Personally, I find this theory a bit far-fetched, but I haven’t been able to find a more satisfactory explanation. Do you have an idea on what he means with this line? Let us know in the comments!
Whatever the case, ‘Gorilla’ is an oft-used racist slur which refers to African Americans. Jay wears the word with pride and uses it as an expression of power. Chief Keef is well-known as a gangsta rapper – a rather dubious reputation to have;
I’m like Chief Keef meet Rafiki, who been Lion King to you
Rafiki is the baboon in the Disney Classic The Lion King– perhaps the wisest animal in the entire animal kingdom. Jay claims to be a mix of the two.
The Super Bowl
Later in the verse, Jay says:
I said ‘no’ to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you
There had been rumours swirling for some time that Jay had turned down the honour of performing during the Super Bowl Halftime show, and this line confirmed it. The reason? He wanted to show solidarity to football player, Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest against police brutality towards African Americans. (Check out the men kneeling in the music video at 3:35!)
Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too
Jay and Bey can fill stadiums without the NFL!
F the Grammys
At the end of the verse, Jay raps:
Tell the Grammys fuck that 0 for 8 shit
This year, Jay-Z received 8 Grammy nominations for his album 4:44, but he didn’t go home with a single one. When you think about the fact that he’s won 21 in the past, it’s easy to understand his reaction.
Freedom to the people
To finish, Queen B sings this in the third verse:
All of my people, I free ’em all (free ’em all)
Hop in the whip, wanna see the stars
Sendin’ the missiles off, trickin’ my inhibitions off
APESHIT – The Carters
They’re extremely motivated to make a difference to ‘their people’ and to make an end to the inequality that is still so rampant. That’s a powerful way to sum up the most important message of the whole song!
Why King Jay and Queen Bey run the world
Curious how The Carters reached the top? And which statements Bey is making with Lemonade? Check: Why King Jay and Queen Bey run the world.