Its been a good time for commercial and hip hop music of late, with new work from Kanye, Rihanna and Drake – Last weekend Beyonce released her visual album LEMONADE. With out so much warning as a few inconspicuous Instagram hints. It has been met with as many criticisms to match accolades but the bottom line is It blew up. And I think its worth high lighting why Beyonce is the ultimate female pop culture icon of our time. She is the only woman in the industry who has the power to just drop a record out of no where, with no promotion, no marketing and have it be an overnight success. She is also one of the only females in music who has full control of every aspect of her brand and company. A strong business woman who has been in the industry a long time and has achieved immense success for a long time. Not without lack of work.
This woman is all about work and honing her craft. Which is singing and performing. She’s a true old school r&b artist – all hood soul. She is so brilliant at her craft because she immerses herself in every aspect and trains consistently to use herself and her art to new levels! You can’t fake those vocals. Beyonce, like her idol Nina Simone, prides herself on her voice being her instrument; Learning and executing that instrument to the best of her ability. That is what she brings to the song writing process.
Truly great artists know the value in collaboration so weather all of her songs are written sold by her should not even be discussed. Everyone in a studio has an area of expertise to bring to the table and allowing a space for that to realise a vision is what makes great work.
That being said, a project can also simply be a project. Just a wacked out idea from a daydream, whilst you allowed your mind to drift off to try and make light the tribulations of daily life. Perhaps drawing from real life experience and embellishing to capture and dramatise the essence of human emotion. Which is what art does, it simply reflects human nature.
Which is what Lemonade does. It portrays the journey that is all too familiar for people or it resonates with common feelings of betrayal, guilt, anger and love. Beyonce has used her platform as the biggest female artist to release a body of work that pushes boundaries creatively, visually, musically and has used her musical talent to bring the focus back to the concept of an album. Basically she made a movie so people would listen to and understand her WHOLE album and not just the singles that get killed on the radio. The amount of work, effort and love that goes into making an album should be respected. Every aspect – from the title to the artwork. Beyonce goes above and beyond.
Lemonade is the proof of that; With its incredibly styled images, costumes and settings brilliantly juxtaposing contemporary and classic themes. With subtle imagery that cleverly plays with your emotions, evoking a feels of being threatened much like you do when you find yourself questioning your relationship. Tying in with the stunning aesthetic is raw, deep poetry between songs. She’s showcasing her brilliance as a multifaceted artist – singer, dancer and actor – and allowing herself to fully express her creativity through her strongest medium.
Whilst creating a timeless sound that perfectly immortalised our culture, lyrically and musically. She has the ability to pay homage to her inspirations and her heritage; r&b. The sweet side of hip hop culture. Honestly, she wifey to the biggest hustler in the game. Hip hop culture is real. Its its own genre but she finds an original sound that explores r&b ballads, pop hooks, hip hop raps, and on this album brings the southern influence of her heritage to the forefront. All this whilst using relatable lyrics to drop feminist bombshells, political bombshells and personal too. Little by little awakening the general public. She takes reality and fantasy and blends them into artistry. Whilst creating a platform for others to expose and express their art. I guarantee that for every dancer that worked on lemonade that was a dream come true. Same goes for the rest of the crew and truly to work on something of that calibre with the best in the business, seeing how they do things, having their visions realised through your work also – that is what makes magic in the entertainment business.
The bottom line here is that there will always be * snobs * trying to say that pop culture is lacking in taste and ruining young minds but Andy Warhol changed the world with brillo boxes and if you think there is something wrong with having a big ol dance party trya build yourself up to feeling like your flyest self because your just trying to handle lifes inevitable difficulties ? Then you haven’t tried it and you need to. And someone needs to lay down those tracks in a contemporary and magnificent way. Thanks for providing Bey.