Beyonce – Bown Down / I Been On [Song Review]


Beyoncé is more than just a triple threat. With four solo albums, ten movies, a clothing line, and most recently a sold-out international tour beginning this April, its clear “Queen B”, as her fans call her, is taking over the world.

And she knows it. Beyoncé recently came out with a new single, “Bow Down / I Been On”, which is said to appear on her fifth album. The track which is actually more like two songs with the first half being produced by Hit Boy (the same producer behind Kanye West and Jay-Z’s ‘Ni**as in Paris’) and Planet 6, and the second half, “I Been On” produced by Timbaland, Polow da Don, Sonny Digital, and The-Dream, is definitely a change from what the Beehive (Beyoncé’s fan base) is used to.

This song has the most explicit language of any Beyoncé song to date. In the bridge alone she says “bitches” at least five times and curses throughout the song. Additionally, as evidenced by the song title, the entirety of the song is Beyoncé singing about how she is the “Queen” and people need to “bow down” and respect her.

The song begins with an auto-tuned hook, repeating the lines, “I’m out that H-town / Coming, coming down,” making reference to Beyoncé’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Finally around fifteen seconds into the song we get to hear Ms. Queen B herself and she’s starts by saying,

I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world

Don’t forget it, don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches.

Beyoncé then goes on to demonstrate that although she may be married to Jay-Z and the name of her upcoming world tour is The Mrs. Carter World Show, she is more than just Jay-Z’s wife. She sings, “I took some time to live my life / But don’t think I’m just his little wife” indicating that just because she took some time to just be a wife and a mom to her now one-year old daughter, Blue Ivy, doesn’t mean she isn’t still running things.

After her first verse the song goes into a repetitive bridge of Beyoncé singing, “Bow down bitches” and then back into the annoyingly repetitive auto-tuned hook, that one can assume is Beyoncé herself. At this point the track changes into the second song, with Beyoncé singing a lot of “Ahhhh’s” while the beat slows down. Then Beyoncé using a  deep auto-tuned voice begins not even singing lines but instead rapping them, repeating “I been on” and “Take me off” for about twenty seconds. Beyoncé then rounds up the song, rapping in this tone, making the majority of this track an auto-tuned mess.

To end the song Beyoncé gives a run down of her past, seemingly trying to give the impression that although she’s “Queen” now she, in the words of Drake, “Started from the bottom now [she] here.” She raps about how she remembers having “dookie braids”, “boodaying in the parking lot”, and being in a Willie D video (the Geto Boys video for their single, “Gangsta Put Me Down”) when she was fourteen and finishes with another shout out to her hometown of Houston.

Ironically this song seems to be a step down for Queen B. With her use of auto-tune she lowers herself to the ranks of T-Pain and Ke$ha. Throughout the song she makes the claim that she’s the best and the baddest but then she produces a song where she barely shows off her own talent. Maybe she’s trying to show the world she can be versatile but mostly she just showed the world that even royalty can make mistakes. We can only hope that the whole album isn’t going to be like this, and instead will have much less auto-tune and more of the melodious Beyoncé singing that we know and love. Beyoncé has yet to put the single on sale in iTunes but it can be found on her webpage and on her SoundCloud account. 

– Zakiya N. Jamal, Leisure/Music Staff Writer

Image source: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1042155/thumbs/o-BEYONCE-BOW-DOWN-facebook.jpg


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