Billions of Reasons

Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ Lyrics Tease Her Elevator Drama with Jay Z

Buried on the remix to ‘Flawless,’ Beyoncé sort of addresses the rumors: ‘We escalate up in this bitch like elevators / Of course sometimes shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator.’

Chad Batka/The New York Times, via Redux

Back in May, Solange Knowles showed the Internet just how bad pretty hurts when video footage leaked of the starlet attacking brother-in-law Jay-Z in an elevator, all while Beyoncé stood idly by. The incident sparked a flood of wild conjectures, made every married couple in the world slightly less envious of Bey and Jay, and even managed to help SNL become temporarily funny again. In the months following the elevator confrontation, rumors have continued to engulf hip-hop’s first couple.

On the surface, the Beyoncé/Jay-Z union/merger is business as usual. The duo is currently on the road with their On the Run tour, a series of sold-out shows that feature Jay-Z the rapper performing alongside his wife, the world’s most stunning, glittery human GIF. However, according to the one millionth installment of Page Six’s in-depth series on the blessed union, the tour “might be canceled before its scheduled finale” due to some serious trouble in paradise.

The paper’s inside source claims that the couple are living separate lives, booking different hotel rooms and arriving to their joint performances solo. Apparently, Jay’s controlling nature makes Christian Grey look like a doormat—he even wants to order Beyoncé around post-alleged breakup. The source claims that, “Jay’s been adamant that he doesn’t want Beyoncé sitting down with Barbara Walters or Oprah Winfrey pretending to be the victim.” Page Six has also alleged that Beyoncé is on the market for her own apartment.

The most pervasive explanation for the elevator incident is that Jay-Z is sleeping with Rihanna on the side, a dirty little rumor that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Besides a disappointingly vague press release, Beyoncé has kept a low profile following the scandal. Of course, for Bey a low profile includes Instagramming two to four times a day and releasing an exclusive sneak peek of the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer, set to what sounds like Beyoncé slowly climaxing over the slowed down hook from Crazy in Love.

Now Beyoncé has finally deigned to offer us confused, petty humans her own badass commentary on the scandal, buried in her latest track. On Saturday night Bey surprise-dropped the remix of her hit Flawless. The track features Beyoncé in rare form, offering up the controversial line “We escalate up in this bitch like elevators / Of course sometimes shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator,” an allusion to the fact that Bey and Jay’s net worth is an estimated billion dollars. Now picture Beyoncé spitting that line at all the haters and rumor mongers, all while executing a middle finger up, Single Ladies-style sassy hand wave.

But the Flawless remake isn’t just tabloid fodder; it’s also a girl-power hip-hop marvel, featuring the first-ever collaboration between Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. While Beyoncé’s non-consensual elevator video made her private life public, Nicki’s been taking the opposite approach, releasing some very public footage of her, well, privates.

Minaj dropped her newest single Anaconda on Monday, a Sir Mix-A-Lot sampling ode to her own assets. To hype the release Nicki shared the single’s cover art, a jaw-dropping (gravity-defying?) shot of her practically naked back that has already gained more than a quarter of a million likes on Instagram, while simultaneously generating its own Internet meme.

While countless fans are doubtlessly grateful for the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time staring at Minaj’s posterior (one-on-bun time?), some critics have decried the album art as lewd and overly explicit. Apparently, Minaj received a slew of offensive tweets and rude Instagram comments in response to the racy image. Not one to shy away from controversy, Minaj fired back, posting a series of booty-centric Sports Illustrated shots featuring non-black models, including the 2014 swimsuit issue cover. She captioned that photo “Angelic. Acceptable. Lol”, before sharing a snap of her own Anaconda cover art with the caption “UNACCEPTABLE”, thus implying that white female bodies are worshipped and revered, while black nudity is deemed disgusting and profane.

The unstoppable Minaj was quick to put the haters in her rearview mirror, charging full speed ahead and wowing fans with a 15-second sneak peak from the Anaconda music video. The Instagram clip truly lives up to the title of a teaser, as a minimally clad Minaj and her flexible associates cavort in a jungle setting, showing off moves that run the gamut from twerking to twerking in slow motion.

But while Minaj’s ass shaking is strangely captivating and apparently controversial, it’s Beyoncé’s ass-kicking verse that’s got all the tabloids talking.