Ricky Saiz // YouTube
Before there was a joint Drake-Kanye West project to speculate on, a What A Time To Be Alive release to live through, and a year dedicated to collaborative albums, there has been one collab on the mind of most music fans: Beyoncé and Jay Z.
Despite Camp Carter never actually entertaining the speculation, talks of a collaborative album from the two first surfaced in 2014, when DJ Skee teased it on his radio program. Since then, the royal music couple released an HBO special for their "On The Run" tour, launched Tidal, turned Lemonade and 4:44 into America's epic love story, gave birth to twins, racked up a billion, crushed Coachella, went on the run again, and, voilà, Everything Is Love. Here, we gathered all the checkpoints along this journey to the album, beginning with its head-scratching announcement.
Back in September 2014, DJ Skee confirmed on newly-launched Dash Radio that Jay Z and Beyoncé had begun recording a joint album. "The biggest couple in music, maybe entertainment, maybe the world, they're working on an album together," he said. "You know who I'm talking about, Jay Z and Beyoncé. I have confirmed and talked with a couple sources. Now all know what Jay Z did [with] Samsung last year. We all know how Beyoncé came out of nowhere. But this secret would top all of them, even that new U2 album." The news came on the heels of the couple's final On the Run Tour show in Paris.
A couple months later, Skee revealed the project would be released on Tidal. "I first reported last year that Jay Z and Beyoncé were working on a joint album, which by the way is finally nearing completion, and my sources are saying it will be released exclusively on Tidal," he said.
In February 2015, producer Detail, who worked on "Drunk In Love," confirmed the project in an interview with Billboard. "I'm working with a couple of new projects that I don't want to unveil, and then me and Beyoncé and Jay Z are actually doing something together this year," he shared. When asked about the rumored album, he answered, "When you think of Jay and Bey together, you think 'album.' You should already know."
As the whispers and silence surrounding the project continued, a Page Six report in May 2016 revealed the rumored joint project was finished. According to the news, a source said, "Jay and Beyoncé were never going to do an interview to address all the questions that came up after Lemonade. It's more their style to respond through music." The source added that the joint album would be released on Tidal "very soon."
When Beyoncé released Lemonade in 2016, rumors surfaced online about Jay working on a response album. But, (thankfully) that came and went. After the speculation, a Beyoncé fan account teased the collaborative effort with lyrics, purportedly, from a "joint album session."
But we'll give you 2 lyrics from the joint album sessions. 2 different songs.— THE BEYHIVÉ (@TheBeyHiveTeam) August 17, 2016
"Hello...Hello....If you're looking for me, look up! I"m DRONING! ...Flying by all you bitches...Skyin high." (Prod. by Tricky & Dream) 🔥— THE BEYHIVÉ (@TheBeyHiveTeam) August 17, 2016
Marriage Counseling. Tennis Courts. Mansion. Therapy. Battle. Screaming. Accusations. Regret. Trust Issues. Celebrity. Visual Album. Film.— THE BEYHIVÉ (@TheBeyHiveTeam) August 17, 2016
In 2016, Billboard reported, via a source, that Columbia "wouldn't agree to the joint album." However, a Sony source countered the statement, insisting that the label was "open to" partnering with Jay and Bey for the project. Hits Daily Double later reported on the news, suggesting that the long-rumored LP would arrive late 2016 with Columbia "most likely" being the label.
Following the release of 4:44, Jay sat with New York Times and confirmed the existence of the album. "[4:44 and Lemonade] happened — we were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together," he revealed. "And then the music she was making at that time was further along. So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on." However, Jay noted that the couple had "a lot of that music" in the vault.
The couple added to the speculation by hopping on DJ Khaled's "Top Off" single, also featuring Future. Between lines like "What these niggas gonna do without us" and "I break the internet, top two and I ain't number two," as well as the announcement of their four month On the Run II tour, Hov and King Bey added more steam to album rumors.
Arriving a week shy of their respective debut album anniversaries (Dangerously In Love June 23; Reasonable Doubt June 26), Beyoncé and Jay release Everything Is Love. Coincidentally, the nine-song album also arrived during Black Music Month — all in all adding a fitting close to one remarkable journey.
Everything Is Love, initially exclusive to Tidal, is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.