I was really excited for this album after hearing the hypnotic, Trap alike, attention grabbing Apeshit single. The prospect of this famous couple finally working together on a project was intriguing to say the least but its turned out to be a rather hollow record that lacks an exciting or distinct personality. Its vision is lackluster and fails miserably to get substance out of the duo. Its mediocre, its best moments are barely its own and the production has a range of talent involved but its instrumentals play it all safe.
Admittedly I'm unacquainted with Beyonce's music beyond hearing Desinys Child on MTV as a teen. Her singing on the record is loaded with flamboyant inflections that flavor every word sung with a spice but whatever shes expressing with her voice, I feel a complete emotional disconnect from. As well as singing she dips in with some half way raps and deliveries that feel a step behind the curb, as if playing catch up with trending styles in the Hip Hop sound. This reigns especially true with the adoption of the "skrt skrt" and other trendy lyrics, styles and vocalizations heard in the first half of the album before the two settle into a rhythm.
Jay-Z doesn't come into his own until the records second half. At first hes a quiet presence behind Beyonce who takes the lime light. One of his first raps has him spitting a weak repetition of rhyming words on the hook, nice nice nice, night night night, lights lights lights, ice ice ice. Its a bore and a lot of his lyrical themes fail to jump of the page however by the records final songs he drops some tighter verses but by then the album has lost me. Its a shame, they really don't spark anything unique together, it sounds almost routine at its inception.
The records best moments come on Still with a classic hook borrowed and reworked from Dr. Dre and unsurprisingly it does little other than remind you of how good of a record 2001 was. Its second stride of promise is on the single track Apeshit, which boasts strong Mumble Rap and Trap influences on the instrumental. It wasn't produced by Travis Scott but you can hear his influence and that of the Migos. Nothing more than reflecting the scene but it was pulled of well. Ultimately there is little to this record that's innovative or exciting. Feels like the two came together to do what they know rather than explore their musicality and chemistry.
Favorite Track: Apeshit