It must be so weird to be Jay-Z, guys. He is, by any standard, one of the most successful and well-known rappers of all time and an insanely talented businessman to boot, and he still managed to somehow marry up, to a woman who is better than him at damn near every single thing the two of them do. Don’t get me wrong; I married up myself, and my wife is also better than me at goddamn near everything. It ain’t a bad thing. But to be as successful as this guy has been, and still be #2 in your house? Crazy.
So here’s the thing: although I don’t talk about her all that much I am a big fan of Beyoncé. I’ve phrased that very deliberately. I am a fan of Beyoncé, not so much of her music. As an entertainer, she’s amazing, but I’m not necessarily going to reach for Dangerously in Love when I’m looking for something to listen to. She’s had a couple of songs on each of her albums that I like; sometimes a couple that I really like, but Lemonade was the first of her entire records that really clicked for me and even then if I’m playing it it’s to listen to Daddy Lessons or Formation and not to listen the whole way through.
And despite all the good stuff I just said about Jay, I’ve always thought he was kind of overrated as a musician. Him and Nas both fit into the same headspace for me, guys who have been around forever and been obscenely successful in hiphop (although Jay is a level beyond Nas, I think) but who I just don’t think are as good as everyone thinks they are. Don’t @ me. I bought 4:44 just like everybody else. The dude’s still huge. I don’t get to decide that, and he doesn’t have to give a shit what I think. But still.
So it’s kind of fascinating to me that Everything is Love is my favorite Beyoncé album and my favorite Jay-Z album, and by a substantial margin. I have always and always will preferred hiphop to all other forms of music, and it turns out that when you take Bey’s talents and turn the dial a few notches toward rap you get something that I really fucking like. Here’s how much I like this album: I’ve not only had it on damn near constant rotation in my car since I downloaded it, but when I’m not listening to it I’ve been revisiting everything else I have by both of them.
I dunno if I even really have anything else coherent to say about it. I’m terrible at reviewing music; I always have been, and it’s not like this album needs my help, right? If you were gonna cop this one you had it two hours after you found out it existed and nobody is going to try it based on Oh, Luther liked it! But still. Do it anyway. This is something special, and these two need to make music together more often.