What do Beyoncé's and Jay-Z's "Drunk in Love" lyrics Mean?
No, this will not answer whether the Queen B is a feminist.
The explanation of lyrics on this page was not written by Nordette Adams.
Its author prefers to remain anonymous.
Lots of people want to debate whether Beyoncé Knowles is a feminist or not. Akbia Solomon at Colorlines says she's tired of that topic, but she does question some of the choices made by Mr. & Mrs. Carter (Jay-Z and Beyoncé) during their Grammys 2014 performance of "Drunk in Love." Specifically, Ms. Solomon is disappointed that the superstars chose not to eliminate part of Jay-Z's rap in the song that mentions wife abuser Ike Turner and then uses the line, "Eat the cake, Anna-Mae." The line comes from a violent scene in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It (video).
Given the controversy and all talk, the owner of this website began to wonder what the song and its video may mean. What are Beyoncé and Jay-Z trying to say? Is there a message of social value, perhaps, via irony, or is "Drunk in Love" just a sex song? Stumped, I asked a woman who is a hip-hop scholar to share her explanation of the lyrics. She sent me an email with the explication or explanation of Jay-Z's rap in the song and that follows; however, she would prefer to remain anonymous. I have respected her wishes.
WARNING: The following explanation contains adult language.
One Explication of "Drunk in Love"
This song is very complicated, and it involves a lot street slang for sex. Its metaphor-heavy and will take a lot to deconstruct. First, cake refers to a woman's assets, and it also refers to oral sex on a woman. As in Rihanna’s "Cake Cake Cake
" ("Birthday Cake") song.
"Drunk in Love" is definitely about a power struggle but a very sexual one about who’s taking charge.
So we start with Beyoncé talking about how she’s going to put it on Jay-Z, and she starts first thus the reference to her mouth. So basically she needs to use her mouth for more than just talking.
Jay-Z is making a reference to Beyoncé starting the sexual exchange
Sounds like Beyoncé is pretty sure of her love-making skills, and Jay-Z is calling her out on it.
Now, Jay Z is bragging about his package (i.e. sling). Sounds like he’s getting served as referenced earlier by Beyoncé’s mouth. At the same time, the song is taking a turn, throwing us a curve1
, now Jay-Z is taking charge.
So this doesn’t need any explanation; he’s serving her and she’s losing control.
["Warhol" indicates an expensive painting by the famous painter
Also this needs no explanation; they’re in the heat of the moment.
Box is slang for vagina. Beat it up is slang for rough sex, but he’s also using a Mike Tyson2 metaphor. Mike Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear off in ’97, so we’re back to an oral sex reference of bite the cake. Eat the cake. Nibble the goods.
He’s serious about what he's doing to her and is about to take her to the next level. Turn up is the highest, as in climax. This is also yet another reference of beating3 the cherry up, or as Beyoncé puts it in another song called BLOW, he’s turning the cherry out. (I know. This is all so vulgar)
Now this is where everyone is confused because how these lines are understood depends on determining who is talking in this section. I think a closer look at the punctuation is the key to how to read this line. "Now eat the cake" is figuratively what he’s doing (oral sex). Notice Anna Mae says "eat the cake" not Ike. Beyoncé is flipping the script and telling the male to eat it well. Rihanna says in the song "Cake Cake Cake," "I’m a make you my bitch." In this moment, it seems like Beyoncé is making Ike (i.e. Jay-Z) her bitch. She’s calling him Anna Mae4.
It could also mean that Jay-Z has won control through his sexual oral skills. He now has control, and Beyoncé is turned up and turned out5 and will do whatever he tells her to do. She has reached climax, and he can have his way with her. Thus the line SAID, “Eat the cake, Anna Mae!”
Now that he has control of the situation, he’s nice, and it’s sweet love making.
- Someone else wrote to tell me that there's even more double entendre in the word curve and reference to "his package."
- Several commenters have said that the above explanation informs them about some things they didn't understand; however, they still feel that references to Mike Tyson, due to his alleged abuse of his ex-wife Robin Givens, and Ike Turner, due to his documented abuse of Tina Turner, are in appropriate in a relationship song.
- See note number 2.
- Intertexuality (referencing or alluding to other literature, movies, and other musicians' songs/raps) is common in hip-hop.
- "Turned up" is slang for getting loose, free, or wild, and "turned out" is slang for bring about someone's sexual awakening or giving someone the greatest orgasm of all time or making people know the truth about themselves.
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