Superstar power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z are no strangers to attention. They are both dreamers and true artists of their respective musical genres. So, what happens when two people encounter marital problems? Music trilogy. Released about a year apart, “Lemonade,” “4:44,” and “Everything Is Love” tell their sometimes stormy romance. All three albums set records, breaking new ground for artists.
To understand the context of these records, especially how monumental Beyonce’s “Lemonade” is, we have to go back to the beginning.
On May 5, 2014, Beyonce, her husband Sean Carter (known by most as Jay-Z) and her sister Solange Knowles attended the annual Met Gala. The night started out perfectly normal, but ended very differently, which became apparent when leaked footage of the now-infamous elevator ride went viral on the internet.
In a blurry but still recognizable clip, Solange charges and punches Jay-Z. Beyoncé stayed in the corner of the elevator, not wanting to get involved, as if she had a hunch that the footage would be made public. That brief elevator trip has sparked numerous rumors on news sites, speculating on the reasons behind the incident. The general consensus remains that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s marital infidelity led to Solange’s attack. In a joint statement from the three celebrities, they claimed, “We have put this matter behind us and hope others will do the same.” The Carters have never publicly stated the reasoning behind the fight, and they probably never will. meeting.
Just over a month after the quarrel, the Carters embarked on a stadium tour called “On The Run.” The show offers an intense gangster-themed experience, showing fans the aggressive side of the performers and their empathy for each other. A big screen on stage flashed the message “It’s not real”, reminding fans that the two entertainers were just acting as characters. The purpose of the tour is not to promote new music projects, but more as a hottest show. The main message to fans is that the couple seems more united than ever, performing more than 40 songs together each night. However, some fans couldn’t forget that turbulent night at the Met more than a month before the tour. Is the matter between husband and wife really resolved? Is it wrong for the world to think Solange’s anger at Jay-Z has something to do with his infidelity to Beyonce?
On April 23, 2016, Beyonce answered some tough questions for fans as she released her sixth studio album, “Lemonade.” The 12-track project accompanies the hour-long “visual album” of the same name and tells the story of a marriage full of deceit and betrayal. Fans went crazy over the A-lister’s marriage. Whether fact or fiction, this record provides fans with all the fun marriage gossip they’ve been craving. The album was a momentous moment in Beyoncé’s career, and its cross-genre content showcased her raw talent. The record follows someone’s arc of a deal with her partner who betrayed her, from “denial” and “indifference” to “forgiveness” and “redemption.” “Lemonade” continued to gain recognition and acclaim during Beyoncé’s big “Formation World Tour” for much of 2016. “Lemonade” isn’t just another album, it’s a pivotal moment in pop culture that still resonates with audiences.
Beyoncé takes a second year off to give birth to twins, and it’s Jay-Z’s turn to tell the story of his marriage. On June 30, 2017, Jay-Z released his 13th studio album, 4:44. The album doesn’t have a full narrative, but each song highlights a snippet of the supposed truth about Jay-Z’s life. The song “Kill Jay Z” directly references the rapper’s battle with Solange, saying, “You’ve been egging on Solange/Knowin’ and you have to say you’re wrong.” The next line of the song revolves around his fight with Beyonce Silk’s marriage infidelity rumors: “You almost walked Eric Benét / Let the world’s worst girl go unpunished”, referring to Eric Benét and Halle Berry’s high-profile divorce in 2004, which led to the passage of cheating. Jay-Z has also embarked on his own tour, singing songs from his fall album “4:44 Tour”.
By the time 2018 arrived, most fans thought Beyoncé and Jay-Z had given up on the topic of their marriage and would have given up on it. In March 2018, Beyoncé made headlines at Coachella, and anticipation for her follow-up, “Lemonade,” grew. On June 16, 2018, the couple launched a joint project titled “Everything Is Love” under the name “The Carters.” The project has 8 songs and retains most of the marriage dialogue from the ending track “LOVEHAPPY”, in which Beyoncé raps “Yeah, you f- up the first stone, we had to get remarried / We keepin’ it real with These people, right? / Luckily, I didn’t kill you when I met that b–. Jay-Z responded to Mrs. Carter’s refrain, saying, “You all know how I know her, We got back together after we broke up/I had to make her sweat to get her back. “
The project was released just 10 days after the couple’s follow-up collaborative world tour, “On The Run II.” While many of the new songs have never been performed live, this mini-album is a genius strategy for the couple, showing that they are now more united than ever. One interesting detail about the difference between this tour and their first “On The Run” tour is the new text displayed on the screen. “It’s True Love” now reads on the big screen, suggesting the show is more autobiographical than the last. “Everything Is Love” serves as the perfect ending to the marriage story trilogy and reminds viewers that, literally, there’s only love in their relationship right now.
It seems that the Carters planned the entire saga and knew exactly how they wanted to tell their story. Whether the couple struggled with infidelity may never be publicly confirmed or denied, but a cohesive narrative has certainly been conveyed through the three music projects and accompanying tour. Not only were the Carters musical trailblazers, they were also gifted marketers. Once the world speculated that there was trouble in heaven, Beyoncé and Jay-Z set about trying to regain power and tell their stories themselves. It seems like they’re both thinking, “Do you want a story? We’ll tell you a story!” If the infidelity is true, these projects are the perfect way to regain agency in the public eye. If the rumors are false, at least they gave us a few years of the story. If we can learn anything about Beyoncé and Jay-Z from all of this, it’s that they’re not the ones sitting down and letting other people control their narratives.