Like a thief in the night, Jay Z and Beyonce dropped their surprise album, Everything Is Love in the early hours of Saturday, June 16, 2018 and it is everything you expect from a power couple collaboration.

The album received no press nor prior buzz, but relied solely on their individual star power that they even made it available exclusively on Jay Z's streaming platform Tidal on the day of its release, but whether announced or not, it feels like we have been waiting forever for this one.

The journey that started with the incident in the infamous elevator with Solange and birthed two personal individual albums in Lemonade and 4.44, finally seems to have gone full circle with both parties shaking hands, offering forgiveness and raising glasses as they toast to a happy ending.

Sometime in 2015, the first talk of a collaborative effort by the power couple was mentioned by music producer, Detail, but events that followed afterwards seemed to have punctured a hole in that plan.

Three years later and calm seems to have finally been restored to the house of music's powerhouse and off the back of their On The Road II Tour where they have shared personal moments on stage, Jay Z and Beyonce announced the new album and Everything Is Love is the final scene to the trilogy that is ending the way the scriptwriter planned.

The 9 track album reveals various sides, touching on personal issues but being careful not to dwell too much this time, and a combination of two of the richest personalities in the music business is bound to bring about arrogant talk and this album offers it in abundance.

The couple are basically together having happy moments, just singing and rapping, with Beyonce being the dominant presence and HOV serving as the featured act most of the times.

The album opener, Summer is soft and sensual as Bey's vocals wraps around you like an embrace but Jay Z still manages to brag as he claims, ''I brought my sand to the beach''.

Apesh*t is the lead single off the project with the video released the same day as the album, and if you can picture two fully sated gorillas pumping their fists in excitement, then it gives you a picture of what the song sounds like.

Outside renting the iconic Louvre Palace in Paris for the video, this trap inspired joint featuring Migos is all about two King Kongs reminding two of the most renowned institutions in the Grammys and Super Bowl, that they now play on the same level.

''I said no to the Super Bowl; you need me, I don't need you... Tell the Grammy's f**k that 0 for 8 shit, have you ever seen the crowd going apeshit''.

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Boss and Nice featuring Pharrell who also co-produced it, follows a similar pattern with Beyonce going bar for bar with HOV on the former, while Jay Z brags about how tatted his passport is on the latter, as Bey takes shots at streaming platform, Spotify.

There is a mention of things that happened when his relationship with his wife was strained on 'Friends' as he admits, ''I ain't going to nobody nothing when me and my wife beefing'', with long time friend Ty-Ty getting name dropped as usual.

On 713, HOV joins Bey in paying homage to Houston, while 'Heard About Us' is a reminder of how famous The Carters are.

Love Happy is the curtains falling on the four year old running drama, as the couple interchange verses, admitting the ups and downs of their union and how their love is deeper than all the stumbles it has faced.

Across the nine tracks, Beyonce's vocals stays surreal, strong enough to carry you through the album and even when she chose to rap, her flow comes absurdly correct.

For Jay Z, he was born to brag and he does it regally and smooth in a manner that doesn't try to be too imposing, though at-times tiring.

The album makes for a good closure to the drama, as it shines with passion and zeal both in content and production, starring two amazingly talented individuals who realise that virtually no one in the industry plays at their level anymore and this triumph is visible in their music and the story they now tell.

The whole record by and large is a boastful display of marital unity. A case can however be made that Lemonade and 4.44 are stronger albums because of the themes of conflict and resolution.

Sometimes Everything Is Love feels a bit anti-climatic considering the fact that we were served with delicious treats of infidelity and redemption on the couple's last solo efforts. The final act of HOV and B's love trilogy doesn't end with a bang. However the album is a celebration of black love at the summit of stardom and fame- a rare feat in pop America.

If perceived individually, Everything Is Love is one of the best albums this year.

Rating: 4/5


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