B shares how Jay-Z and his collaborators influenced her chart-topping 4.
By Jocelyn Vena
Beyoncé has said that she was “inspired by every type of genre” of music while making 4. But in a recent interview, she spoke in detail about how husband Jay-Z and other hip-hop artists became sonic touchstones while she recorded her fourth solo album.
“Jay had a CD playing in the car one Sunday when we were driving to Brooklyn,” she tells Complex about hearing Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, who co-wrote the 4 track “I Miss You.” “I noticed his tone, his arrangements, and his storytelling. I immediately reached out to him — literally the next morning. I asked him to fly to New York and work on my record.”
She also chose to work with Kanye West (who eventually produced “Party”) after she heard “Runaway,” which she admits, made her cry. “The fact that he’s belting out his pain, his confusion, and his anger, with no pre-written lyrics, was so moving,” she explained of her husband’s frequent collaborator. “He’s singing his heart out for five minutes. He is so vulnerable. I love when an artist can be so honest.”
Of course, B acknowledged the direct influence of Jay’s own work too. “Jay’s music is more than music. His lyrics have fathered generations,” she told the magazine. “All that he has overcome gives millions so much hope. There are moments when I see his lips moving, and I can see lyrics floating above his head, and I think, ‘Wow! How did I get so lucky to be able to witness this level of genius so closely?’ ”
Beyoncé released her album in a season dominated by strong female voices, but she doesn’t want any part in conversations that pit her against other divas.
“There is room on this earth for many queens,” she said. “I have an authentic, God-given talent, drive and longevity that will always separate me from everyone else. I’ve been fortunate to accomplish things that the younger generation of queens dream of accomplishing. I have no desire for anyone else’s throne. I am very comfortable in the throne I’ve been building for the past 15 years.
“I just want my legacy to be great music,” she later added. “Someone who was a risk taker and someone who had songs that struck conversation and emotion.”