Before I begin ........*Takes a deep breath*
It's Saturday evening. I'm getting ready for overtime at my job and before I leave the house I set my DVR to record a Boxing match that featured on HBO and a HBO special called "Lemonade" by Beyonce. I had no clue what Lemonade was. I just knew Beyonce was in it and that's all I need to know. I press record and went to my miserable ass job.
As the night went on at work I finally looked at my phone because the evening began to slow down and I opened up twitter because I got a notification and the first thing I see is a track list that's titled "Lemonade" and I see Beyonce name at the top of the list. I closed the app immediately. Looked up at the ceiling to god and said "Say no more my nigga." I told my supervisor "We're done here," and he replied "Benny, What are you talking about?" I said "We're done here. I'm going home." "Why?" He asked. "The Queen has summoned me and as a poor peasant it is my duty to go home for worship." I replied. The moment I seen that track list was the moment the sabbath arrived. Thou shall not work on the Sabbath right? Welp, Nigga I'm out of here. Might even put in my 2 weeks notice depending how great this album is.
Mashing the gas all the way home like Martin in the last scene of "Bad Boys" with a bullet in his leg chasing that red haired foreign mothafucka, all I could think about was "Lemonade" and the possibility of me catching the holy ghost while listening to it. Last Lemonade I gave a fuck about was from the Trap God Gucci Mane. I make it home and start up my computer. I didn't give a fuck about food, taking a shower, getting situated. Fuck all that. I still even had my work clothes on. Who cares. When the Queen summons you, you fucking arrive, and arrive promptly. I decided to listen to the album first then watch the visuals afterwards because It definitely gave me a better perspective that way. Especially with the long letter/poem a emotional Beyonce was reciting over the duration of the visuals carefully chopped and placed for each song. The album didn't have the letter/poem before every track.
Without further adieu. My ultimate review. Queen Beyonce's "Lemonade."
PRAY THAT YOU CATCH ME (INTUITION)
A woman's intuition is real as fuck. They feel you lying. They following up. Brace yourself. They'll become Matlock, Inspector Gadget, Dexter, and that white guy from the show "Narcos" all rolled into one. Beyonce is trying to piece everything together of her man's dishonesty. She is curious about his activities. She prays she catches him whispering and prays he catches her listening. She wants to see the reaction. If they're both caught, it will bring the situation to the forefront so both of them can get to the truth. First step is putting the problem on the table for anything to get solved but it's very difficult to just casually walk up to the person you love and accuse them of cheating. It's not easy. What if they're not cheating? They will think you're crazy and the relationship might change. Both of you will be walking on egg shells. What if they are cheating? You will discover something you didn't want to discover. Your worse fear confirmed. Heartbreak follows and of course the relationship will change dramatically. This situation is a lose/lose situation.
Visually this video was dope. It starts in a vacant field with a broken home/building (Metaphorically that could represent their home/relationship) then transitions to Beyonce on her knees and head bowed on a stage and then her in a black hoody in the field I previously mentioned. Every visual of this album is beautiful. The shots of the beautiful black women standing and sitting on porches in the country. The poem starts. Beyonce wonders where her man goes when he's quiet. What is he hiding? She calls him a magician because he's able to be 2 places at once. He's there with her physically but mentally he's elsewhere. Is he thinking of the other woman? Why is he coming home late and lying. Her intuition is telling her something isn't right so she's acting on it. Beyonce is then seen in the visual to be walking to the edge of a building. She at her edge. She's on the edge of insanity. Beyonce jumps.
HOLD UP (DENIAL)
"Nigga what are you doing??? I'm Beyonce and that side bitch aint me! I love better. Case closed," is the quick summary of this song. Beyonce turned into the female version of David Ruffin when he crashed the Temptations Detroit show and took over. HE AINT ME! HE AINT DAVID RUFFIN! Which was very true. Dennis was no David Ruffin. Anyway. No matter how good a woman is or looks that won't stop a man from cheating. It's just the reality. We're stupid. In the sense of a woman going crazy, this song is accurate. Scary accurate. Beyonce is juggling her emotions on this track. She's angry. She's hurt. She's asking so many questions. Her self respect is on the line in this song. She's about to go fuck her up a bitch. She doesn't care if she looks jealous or crazy and she even ponders which one is worse to be. She comes to the conclusion that being taken advantage of is worse than both so she continues to go crazy. I like how she presents how bad she is on this song and then switches from being bad to being vulnerable then to being just simply crazy. She wants to know why would he even look in another woman's direction or why anyone would try her.
The vulnerability comes in when she says "I know I kept it sexy I know I kept it fun." It's implying her asking the question "What did I do wrong for you to do this?" The crazy comes in with lyrics like "We were made for each other so I'll find you and hold you down," that's pure fucking crazy. She implies that she will take him back but will have to fuck some shit up in the process. This shows that she's human which makes the song believable. You see all the emotions switching on and off like a lil bad ass kid playing with the light switch. This really does happen in a lot of relationships. She has the top tier, 5 star, backseat loving in the car, make the wood holly like blvd. How could you leave that? Well he could leave that and she was in denial about that and simply denying to lose to another woman. Here's a similar situation. Remember in the movie "Goodfellas" when Karen finds Henry's side chick apartment and drags her kids with her to go confront her and warns her to stay away from her husband? She then proceeds to go home and pull a gun out on Henry and she says to herself "I couldn't kill him. I couldn't even bring myself to leave him. Why should I let her win?" Ladies and gentleman that is DENIAL and her recognizing her denial in a pure form. I love, love, LOVE the instrumentation on this track reminds me of doo-wop mixed with some island flavor.
Beyonce jumps from a building and lands in water in the visual. Swimming around her house. She talks about how she tried to change to make her man happy. From her appearance to her emotions. She couldn't keep it up because she just wants to know if he's cheating or not. Beyonce is walking in this yellow/orange dress with her titties on 10. Titties was as crazy as her behavior in this song and video. She's walking the streets with a baseball bat and smashing every car on the street. The streets are on fire. No. Really. The streets are literally on fucking fire in the visual. She hits the camera which could represent her man or the other woman who gets hit by her and then the crazy is on full display. SHE RUNNING OVER SHIT IN A MONSTER TRUCK! I was convinced Beyonce crazy in real life. A new evolved type of crazy.
DON'T HURT YOURSELF (ANGER)
This song is where I said to myself "What the fuck did Hov do to this woman? He a fucking savage!" Beyonce is angry. Fed up. She out this mothafucka. "You ain't married to no average bitch boy." Well damn. "Blindly in love I fucks with you til I realized I'm just too much for you." Lord that hurts. I felt like I had to go call my wife and beg her not divorce me after I heard this song and I don't even have a wife. I love the attitude Beyonce displays on this song. Still fucking up his shit. She's telling him she's leaving and says kiss her fat ass in the process but again she's human she's leaves an opening for the relationship to survive. It's still on life support in this song and Beyonce has her foot on the neck of the relationship figuratively and shit by the sound of this song maybe she really has her foot on his neck for real but there is still a ray of hope the relationship can be saved because she says this is his FINAL warning. The guitars are crazy on this track and I love Jack White's vocals on this. No matter what you try to do to Beyonce negatively it's called "Congratulations. You played yourself."
Beyonce decapitates a bitch during the poem just to wear her body parts on some Jeepers Creepers or Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre type shit. She said she could use the bitch scalp as her hat. She really bout to wear this bitch scalp like a roc nation snapback bruh. I like this part of the poem especially when she says "Why can't you see me? Everyone else can." I translated that as her saying that everyone sees her as a good woman so why would you take that for granted. Again those queen titties are on 10 in this video. The fur. The braids. Talking shit in front of the old broken down chevy truck. It was just all so gritty. She added the Malcolm X clip about the Black Woman being the most disrespected woman in the world (Which is very true and that is why Lemonade the album exists). Bey in a dress in the street sitting next to a fire. This visual was so simple but effective. Throwing her ring at the camera at the end was a dope touch too. The final warning.
The tables have turned in this track. When a woman stops giving a fuck. Shit gets real. We realize how much we care once she leaves. As men we start questioning things. We wonder if she for real. We wonder if there's another guy. What are her friends putting in her ear when she going out with them. We even start lurking like Beyonce was in the first track "Pray That You Catch Me." Start lurking on all their social media pages. Looking for Subtweets, pictures, and shit. We start saying sorry and blowing them up. Beyonce admits she starts lying to him and she does not give a fuck. She's not sorry about it. She wants him to feel the pain she felt when he was dishonest. She lacks any concern of what her man is doing anymore and that's where the apathy comes it to play.
I fully expect to see cars full of women singing this song on Snapchat and to hear this in all the clubs in the future. I'm just going to sit on the sideline and watch all the women turn up to hating their men and look at the DJ and give him the signal to play "Back Dat Azz Up" after this song ends immediately. She'll forget I ain't shit for the moment when Juvenile comes on. To regret putting on your wedding ring is some heavy hurtful shit. It would cut any man deep. Bringing up Becky with the good hair. I busted out laughing when I heard that. We don't want Becky with the good hair. We don't want the casseroles Becky will provide. We want shrimp and grits baby. We want the chicken with the seasoning. I think we all know who Becky is now. Not mentioning her name on this review. This is the Queen's time. Overall I love the track production. It's another anthem for women under Bey's belt and it's a fun song.
Beyonce continues the poem and recites what her man would say during a eulogy of her pretend funeral. Praising her for her bomb pussy. Saying she lost sleep over his actions and heaven will be a love without betrayal for her. Ashes to Ashes. Dust to side chicks. Laughed out loud when I heard that of course because side chicks really be dusty. The visual was set off with the beautiful Serena Williams walking and then dancing around Beyonce sitting in a throne. Serena Thighs looking scrumptious like an all you can eat buffet. I just want to touch one of those chocolate thighs just once. Just one time lord and I promise things will be different. I liked the bus shots with Bey and her girls turning up. All black and white touch was great too.
6 INCH (EMPTINESS)
A working woman anthem. Beyonce has a anthem for every situation I think. This is a song about a hard working woman's confidence and expressing it. She worth everything. She works for everything even through hard times. She goes out to get it. She loves the hustle and the grind. She's her own woman. The sample used is the classic "Walk On By" by the late great Issac Hayes. The sample gives it that 70's feel and the background vocals are GODLY towards the end of this track. The bass also hits hard. The Weeknd's style and voice fits this production perfectly. Every woman is about to double their 6 inch heel collection after hearing this song and for a short nigga like me the quest for me to have a chance with those women will increase in difficulty. Every woman a tall nigga can walk to I have to fly to. I'll be okay. I'm ugly but funny and confident.
The poem continues with Beyonce talking about material things with no meaning to it. I was kind of distracted by the naked women walking in the field on this part when she was talking. They had yams. The video is in all red as Beyonce roll through the streets in a old limo. This is a eerie video and I like how they matched the videography with the sample because like I said the song has a 70's vibe because of the Issac Hayes song that was used. The shot of Beyonce swinging the red light to her and other women standing on the porch of the burning house were really sick. This was just a chilling video to me.
DADDY LESSONS (ACCOUNTABILITY)
This song was such a great risk and Beyonce nailed it. The brass horns with the New Orleans feel then to add the guitar and the country vibe to it was such a gamble and it was so perfect. This song and gamble sets Beyonce apart from any other singer out today. This song sounds like a hit in the country world. Like winning country awards and categories type hit. I don't listen to country but what i do like about Country music is the writing of it. It's very simple, honest, and heartfelt. This will be the first country song my black ass will ever jam to in public. Beyonce sings about how her father raised her and taught her about men. Taught her how to shoot. Taught her how to be strong in his absence. He even warns her about men like him implying he's not perfect either. This was one of the best songs on the album because of the gamble Bey took. She left her comfort zone and explored another genre. A task that is not easy for artists.
Beyonce is asking for her mother's advice at this point in the poem about the situation she is in with her relationship. Wondering if her mother went through the same obstacles. She is seeking her mother's guidance. Reminiscing about her mother's pain. This part is interesting because of Beyonce's known rocky relationship with her father. The poem can go in so many directions at this point. She could be talking about her own husband, her father, or even her grandfather. It's up to us to interpret who's she's talking about and how we can relate to it also. You see visuals of the swamps in Louisiana. A clip of a young man driving in his car talking about how he met the president and how they both come from different hoods and that seeing him become president gave him life and that he can be anything he wants. Before that he felt he didn't care if he lived or died. He knew he had to live for his kid. We see him talk about his decision to be a man and learn about being accountable. I thought that was special.
We then see Beyonce in a vintage dress in the shadows standing over the shoulder of a man sitting in the shadows playing the guitar and tapping his feet to the country tune. We see fathers around their children bonding. We see couples arguing. A interesting part was the clip of a old home video of Beyonce bonding with her father talking about her grandparents when she was a child. Everyone was riding horses even Beyonce. The shots of the New Orleans Funeral were crazy. They really celebrate life with their funerals. The pallbearers dancing with the casket on their shoulders. One of them were even dancing on top of the casket at the grave site. Straight George Jefferson shuffling on top of the casket bruh. They were turnt the fuck up. They really brought out the country for this visual. We were getting a awesome look into Louisiana.
LOVE DROUGHT (REFORMATION)
This is my favorite song on the album. I'm a huge fan of artists being human. The man isn't perfect and neither is the woman. It's what makes relationships special. Beyonce is touching on the flaws of her relationship from both sides. "10 times out of 9 I know you're lying and 9 times out of 10 I know you're trying so I'm just trying to be fair." That's real. You lied but you're still here. You didn't leave. You're here and trying to make it work for a reason. It's how she's looking at it. Bey goes on to say in the second verse "9 times out of 10 I'm in my feelings but 10 times out of 9 I'm only human." Pointing out her own flaws. She again asks what she did wrong like she did in the track "Hold Up." She was always devoted and gave attention. Why wasn't she good enough for him not to be dishonest and not cheat? Why wasn't she good enough to not receive love in life in general? She realizes they're stronger together than they are apart. Together they can move mountains. They can bring rain together to end the love drought. I love this melody of this track and the bass. The hook was beautifully executed. The passion. It's just a perfect track to me. It reminds me of that stage of an argument in a relationship where I'm still holding on to that last bit of stubbornness and she is too but we both know we have to let it go to proceed. We both want to win this fight but it's not worth it at all. This song works outside of relationships problems too. We all need to end this love drought in the world.
A question is posed in this part of the poem. "Why do you deny heaven?" "Why are you afraid of love?" The question can go to the man and the woman. The visual shows Beyonce walking in the water with women. They were also hand and hand with their arms raised in other shots. Reborn. Reformed. As if they were baptized. She's sitting and surrounded by flowers. Flowers can't grow in a drought. So the drought must be over because the flowers she's sitting in are in full bloom. A scene shows Beyonce with a rope around her as if she's playing tug of war with her partner and the world on the other end of the rope. The image fits the song because it's Beyonce saying enough is enough. We've been fighting long enough. Let's just come together and end it. The tug of war is not needed. A beat switch happens in the visual too at the end that's not on the album.
You know Beyonce can't do a album without a ballad. She not having that shit. Sandcastles is beautifully sung. It's just Beyonce's voice, background vocals and a piano. It walks that tightrope of being sad but yet has the optimism of a start of a new beginning. She is asking herself why can't she leave. She said she was leaving but she couldn't. She loves her man and she knows she hurt him in return of the hurt he's caused her. She sees that he has been hurt and a point has been proven. She's willing to forgive and willing to stay. From my experience this stage is still uneasy because of the uncertainty of the future. It may even feel like both of you are forcing the interaction but the love and hold you have on each other brings you together regardless. You both become extra nice to each other. Going way out your way to not get on each other's bad side. You both almost see the light at the end of the darkness though. Aside from that, a wonderful and simple song front to back and it transitions right into the James Blake featured forward.
"If we're going to heal. Let it be glorious." "Do you remember being born?" Just a couple of things stated in this part of the poem. This visual was very simple just like the track itself. Beyonce is in a room playing a keyboard with headphones on and singing. The shots of the child drawings, the darkness, scratched up watch and dead flowers were a great touch. We get a Jay-Z cameo which was cool because we rarely see him in this light. He's affectionate along with Beyonce. We are visually seeing them end the cycle of pain between them.
James Blake makes an appearance on the short and straight to the point "Forward." He sings like he's been crying and has had half a pint of Henny and it gives the track so much life and purpose. All there left after everything is to move forward. What else is there to do.
In the visual we have the powerful images of Eric Garner's mother, Mike Brown's mother and Trayvon Martin's mother holding pictures of their sons and we see other women holding pictures of loved ones they've lost and that was so hard to watch because you can just see so much pain in their faces. We see them visibly still hurt but are moving forward with their loved ones in their spirit and heart. Another scene shows A woman walking around tables with candles on them with a tambourine to keep evil away. At least that's what I took from it. Looked very spooky.
CHUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRCH!!!!!!!! Just Blaze you mothafucka! I don't even have to look at the production credits to know he produced this. If I'm wrong fuck it I'm wrong but this has Just Blaze's prints all over it. The drums. The organs. The pace. The sample. Your head will fall off your neck when you hear this beat. Church was in fucking session. Beyonce voice on this track will have you running and jumping giving praises in the church pews. "I'm a keep running cause a winner don't quit on themselves." Man. Pure motivation. The song just works then you put the masterful Kendrick Lamar for an amazing guest verse. You knew Kendrick would not let this shit slide or come half ass. You feel sanctified and freed after hearing his verse and this song. This shit is so monstrous. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. They should use this song on the upcoming Nat Turner film coming in October.
Visually you see a newborn baby on the bed. Symbolizing rebirth. Beyonce talks about healing in this point of the poem and you then see Beyonce sing accapella to all the women you've been seeing over the duration of the visuals. It of course has an old country church feel. We then see ballerina Michaela DePrince do her thing on the wooden stage. This was an incredible visual. Incredible.
ALL NIGHT (REDEMPTION)
This is a smooth track. Loved the bass guitar and the horns. Very jazzy. Beyonce sings that she needs time to get the trust back to where it was but she is still going to love her man. All night. She's happy they're back together and confesses how much she's missed him. The relationship is now stronger after all the bullshit and all the heartache. I really loved this song for the lyrics. By far my favorite lyrics on the album.
"True love is the greatest weapon to end the war caused by pain but every diamond has it's imperfections but my love too pure to watch it chip away. Boy nothing real can be threatened. True love breathe salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption and my torturer became my remedy."
Got. Damn. I played that over and over again. It's so genuine and insightful. True love is really redemption.
In the visual Beyonce gives her praises to her grandmother and grandmother in law (Jay-Z's Grandmother) in the poem for teaching her to be strong through troubled times and we see where the title of the album comes from. Life gives you lemons. You make lemonade. We see a clip of her grandmother in law reciting a speech with that quote about lemons and lemonade in it. Beyonce mentions how he can pull her back together even though he helped pull her apart. He knows her that well and their love is that real. She could also do the same to him. The visual takes us back to that vacant field with the destroyed house with Beyonce singing "All Night" and we see a montage of different happy couples, Beyonce wedding to Jay and getting their tattoo rings. Beyonce's pregnancy. Her mother and her new husband. We see Blue and Jay bonding. We see happiness. Your allergies may act up watching this part and if you single you may start feeling lonely as fuck with even worse allergies. It's all good. There's someone out there for all of us.
Formation was kind of fitting to end this album. Women all together and moving on towards love. Helping uplift women who went through the same problem or worse. We've all heard this for months and I hope all my homies got treated to Red Lobster out there.
Overall I enjoyed the movie and the album. Content wise I was surprised and I think it's Beyonce's best work and it's unapologetically black about the black woman's plight. Black women go through and put up with so much and "Lemonade" feels like a manual teaching black women on how to get through it. It's a guide on how a black queen can rise. This is a very, very, very deep album. On Lemonade she embraces her womanhood and the responsibility that comes with it. This is a grown ass woman who can handle different situations better and is coming into her own. Actually, fuck that she HAS come into her own. This is an album triggered by serious issues in this country and world. Racism. Sexism. Corruption. Unlawful murders by police. A few albums ago I feel the Beyonce on those albums couldn't handle these different situations in a relationship or life. She wouldn't be as open in my opinion. She would care but keep it bottled in.
She's a bit more fearless and more straight forward on this new album. There's so much substance and it's a story and it all connects. We are on the roller coaster of love in a relationship and in life in general. It's not just about cheating in my opinion. There's a bigger picture beyond the cheating. The cheating story is in the forefront because of her and Jay-Z's fame and stature but her response to the cheating can be applied in so many different facets of life and that's what makes this album really great. All those words I put in parenthesis from the Lemonade movie are words we see and experience in all situations of living. We're seeing if a relationship can be saved along with Beyonce's womanhood being tested on so many levels. In the grand scheme it's uplifting black women and sending a message that love is what's important. It's what we're put here to give. Men and women but at the end of the day it's a album made truly for our black queens.
We see the obstacles and emotions experienced on this ride. We're seeing Beyonce transform. We're seeing Beyonce's confidence. Her questioning her self esteem. Experiencing pain and love. Showing both maturity and immaturity. We are seeing her humanity. She was very versatile on this album. You heard tastes of Country, Hip-Hop (Trap & Traditional), Jazz, Gospel, etc. It was just a melting pot of genres. We saw how lovely and beautiful Louisiana is visually through the movie. The people. The land. The culture. The symbolism that was throughout the movie. The celebration of all black women famous or not. Younger and Older. Serena Williams. Warsan Shire (Bey quoted some of her poems in the letter). Amandla Stenberg. Just to name a few. I learned a lot about Beyonce from this album and that is a sign of a great artist with a great vision. She went through a rough and embarrassing time in her relationship and was brave enough to share it with the world but put a real meaningful message underneath all the entertainment. A lot of lemons were given to Bey during that time of her life I'm sure but she made lemonade. Black women are given the most lemons in this world. Make some lemonade my black queens and rise!