After days of preoccupation about Jay-Z referencing those cheating rumors on his new album, which Beyoncé levied against him on Lemonade, we’re now learning that Beyoncé had more control of the narrative than we’ve been led to believe. Jay-Z didn’t simply blindside Beyoncé with his response to the cheating rumors by making a response album. Oh no, my friends. The plot thickens. Instead, reports are now surfacing that Beyoncé was heavily involved in 4:44‘s production and thus, no wool was getting pulled over her eyes.
That’s not to say that she was her husband’s babysitter or she was out to cramp his creative style. No, these reports make it seem as if Jay-Z relied on his wife’s opinion and taste to the point that she profoundly shaped 4:44. And why wouldn’t he want to seek out her opinion? Why wouldn’t he want to get the full thumbs-up from Bey? A universally recognized queen and top-notch picture of success, Beyoncé’s final word is arguably the only one that matters.
Through Us Weekly, Jay-Z’s producer on 4:44, No I.D. (real name: Dion Wilson) went on record to The New York Times in a recent interview to say that “I always call Bey our de facto A&R.” In the music industry, A&R stands for “artists and repertoire,” and among the duties of an A&R, they typically groom and shape the musician they are in charge of. No I.D.’s implication here is that Beyoncé had a profound influence over her husband’s work despite the fact that Jay-Z has been in the music business for the same amount of time (if not longer) than Beyoncé; it’s a total power move, and I’m totally here for it.
He continued: “Pillow talk is the strongest conversation on the planet. Every song has to get past her ears, in my eyes. She came by [the recording studio] a lot and played a good part in helping us get over hurdles on certain records. Of course she’s genius-level with that.”
No I.D. went on to confirm that 4:44 is not a direct response to Lemonade in regard to the cheating rumors per se — despite the fact that Jay-Z’s own lyrics heavily imply acknowledgement and possibly confirmation of cheating — which makes it all the more interesting that Bey was so heavily involved in 4:44. Being consulted about the record is not only a total power move on her part; it’s a show of respect and deference to her opinion on the part of Jay-Z.
All in all, what becomes clear from this new information is that while Jay-Z deserves praise and excitement about his new album, once again we all need to stand in praise of Beyoncé. She’s nobody’s fool, and even better, she’s the one who will always be in a position of power, be it in her marriage or in the public eye.
Reign on, queen. Reign on.