Beyonce – Bow Down/I Been On


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Queen Bey dropped this song yesterday without forewarning and per usual the universe [read: social media] went crazy. The song seems to have a divisive response, either you love it or hate it and Bey stans have been defending her all day. I truly expected the worst when I finally settled down to listen to the song but I have to say it’s not at all bad.

“Bow Down” produced by Hit Boy, who also produced Beyonce’s husband, Jay Z and Kanye West’s “N—s in Paris”. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the similarity in beats for both songs. Beyonce’s fierceness on this track reminds me of her song “Ring the Alarm”. I can totally see myself jamming to this, holding a drink in the air, bopping my head and mean mugging. While the lyrics are completely dripping with arrogance, I think that’s exactly what she had in mind if you take a moment to see the cover art (which I completely didn’t think was exactly necessary).

“I Been On” can be considered the second song and completely transforms to a chopped and screwed hip-hop opera sound, an homage to her hometown of Houston, TX which is also the home of chopped and screwed music. I am not really a fan of that genre of music so I zone out during that part.

Ok now on to the real business of dissecting this song(s). Personally, I don’t think it will be anything on her album or a single. It sounds like she was having fun in the studio and it’ll probably just be used as a promo or some kind of transition/interlude in her upcoming Mrs Carter Show tour. What I think is sending people in a tizzy is the fact that it is a complete different direction for Beyonce. For one, she used the word “bitch” excessively in her song and having maintained this good girl image for so long, people don’t know how to react but really, are we going to assume that she doesn’t curse in real life?

The other thing sending people in a tizzy is that musically, it’s a different departure from her usual r&b/pop sound but so also is the abundance of the arrogant lyrics, although over the years there have been snippets in some of her songs. People are used to the humble, sweet, grateful Beyonce that they have been served over the years but it reminds me of something I read when her documentary aired, that Beyonce has decided to loosen the tight reins on her image and give the people more. The writer also used Rihanna as an example, saying it seemed to be working for her letting everything hang out and maybe Bey is trying that route out and seeing if it works. Thing is…she doesn’t need to.

Yes, she is showing us more and yes it is a complete turn around from the personality we’ve been shown and I don’t know how I feel about that. If you read my review on her documentary, you would see my one beef with Ms B is just doing too much for someone who is so talented. She really at this point has nothing to prove. She has earned her spot as one of the best and doesn’t need all these gimmicks and extras to keep people’s attentions. To be fair, I do understand it’s a business and the wheels have to keep turning. Personally, being married to Jay Z, you really can’t think she is this sweet and innocent child but doing a 180 personality/image switch will also not be believable. All that being said, she achieved her goal – tongues definitely were wagging about this song.


What did you think? Did you love it or hate it? What did you love about it or what did you hate about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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March 18, 2013 6:05 pm

i didn’t like it. and i agree with your review. quite spot on.

March 18, 2013 7:11 pm

You’re absolutely correct about Bey doing too much for someone that doesn’t need to do much since her career and status is pretty much legit. I think Beyonce is truly a TX hood girl. Through and through. All that nice, robotic jumbo she does turns me off. Hence my love-hate relationship for Bey. I enjoy Beyonce more when she’s in “Check Up On It”, “Diva”, “Hip Hop Star” mode. That brash, boastful, urban chick. That’s who she really is. I think that’s why I like the two songs. Especially “I Been On”. I’m thinking both songs are either gonna be… Read more »

March 18, 2013 9:52 pm

Hate. Hate. Hated both songs. Bleurgh. I hope they dont end up on any album.

March 20, 2013 10:25 pm

I have not listened to it since the day it dropped…Its just not my type of music at all so I doubt I would listen to it again. I want to believe she is just having fun in the studio. I just think she is a little too old and mature in the industry to want to “show herself” now.

March 24, 2013 12:00 pm

I don’t like bow down, but I definitely dig I been on.

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