Here’s hoping all our weekends shine like this too!
Crystal Leww: God, I love rapping Beyoncé, who is somehow always better than 50% of actual rappers on the radio. It’s all about attitude, and the way that Beyoncé slurs through that “All of this winnin'” has more swagger than twenty Big Sean verses combined. Jay Z is more than happy to stay out of his wife’s way for the most part, showing up to brag about his family like the cute dad he is. This is grown folks windows down radio blaring music.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Man, Jay-Z exists only to be guest features on his wife’s albums or DJ Khaled tracks. Can you believe that the man who was one the greatest rapper in so many’s eyes, is now a Ace Hood who’s safe from the IRS? Beyonce’s fine here, but in general the song might be the most professionally made Soundcloud Rap track, and that’s the worst thing you can say. No, the worst thing you can say is that DJ Khaled on adlibs is proof that memes should remember their place.
Ryo Miyauchi: Almost a month behind us since the Grammy’s, the same night this song premiered, the loss of Lemonade no longer hangs over Beyonce’s words about winning. Instead, all this winning just seems like another day of Bey: a reason to celebrate, maybe, but it’s a drink order of a slightly higher price tag at best. The person who’s more eager to bask in the moment is Jay Z, whose 21 Savage nod comes off more as quirk from a solid fan of Savage Mode than an attempt of a desperate dad.
Jibril Yassin: I hate to bring 2011 back for a brief moment but this feels like a masterclass in winning. Dropping this the night of the Grammys sends the message this was Beyoncé’s track to lose. “Shining” has an infectious bounce and Bey takes full advantage – the verses feel like a clinic in swagger. Meanwhile, Jay sounds invigorated; whether it’s excitement at dropping Drake subliminals or the prospect of an album on the horizon or simply the fact he managed to hold his own but it’s been a while since he’s come across this relaxed.
Alfred Soto: The Dionne Warwick sample complements performances of quiet ebullience. Neat gender flip too: using her half-rapped cadences and lower register, Beyoncé revels in her will to power while Jay in full court press mode shares an anecdote about buying European trucks for his twins. Not a great verse, but it’s his most charming moment in years. “Shining” sounds designed to give Beyoncé a quickie crossover for the Chainsmokers set. We’ll see.
Thomas Inskeep: I’ve dissed Khaled in the past, openly wondering what the heck he does, but you can definitely hear his touch here: he co-produced “Shining” with Danja, and the beat is sharp, the bass bangs, and those samples from Osunlade’s “Dionne” (!) are truly awesome. What of the stars on the track? Mmmm, delicious. Bey goes through two whole verses and choruses, all “winning” sass, before her hubby drops by to take the third verse. Over the course of the verses, both of them call back to Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride,” and they remind you that they got this. It’s like that famous line from the film Paris Is Burning: “OPULENCE! YOU OWN EVERYTHING!” I mean, they certainly do, don’t they, with 43 Grammys and a ridiculous number of platinum plaques between them? So I can’t blame them for being a little boastful. This sounds like an aspirational anthem from first listen, and it’s the kind of thing Khaled does mighty well, when he gets the right guests to support him. He got the right guests this time, suffice it to say.