Washington - So what exactly happened to Beyoncé and Jay-Z in couples therapy?
It's been two summers since the splashdown of Beyoncé's Lemonade, that magnificent, planet-eating album that, among other things, broke the news of her husband's infidelity in song.
Fourteen months later, Jay-Z stepped forward with his intimate, introspective, repentant 4:44. Then the couple introduced Everything Is Love, a surprise album of duets recorded under their family name, the Carters - and as pop recordings go, it feels unprecedented simply because it exists. Think about it. Two of the most resonant voices of our time have decided to repair their marriage through music, in public, together.
Individually, they still loom extra-larger than life. For Jay, his odyssey from the block to the boardroom continues to inform his every rhyme, but he also has evolved into an exceedingly likable dad who can rap the word "sheesh" with impunity.
Meanwhile, Beyoncé keeps inventing new ways to present herself as Wonder Woman one minute, Everywoman the next. And there's still so much self-awareness and bigheartedness in that pivot. She knows that utopians need to stand alongside the rest of us for their vision to mean anything.
And if that weren't enough, the Carters have also figured out how to transpose their cataclysmic marital strife into colossal music - an alchemy that surely only freakish superhumans can perform.
Just don't let that album title trip you up. Yes, they've patched things up thanks to the help of their friends (Friends) and a few tropical getaways (Summer), but for an exercise in public reconciliation, Everything Is Love feels much bigger than an interview on Oprah's couch. Because even as these two try to protect each other's healing hearts, the injustices of the outside world keep making them ache.
Beyoncé's rapping is far less ambiguous, and yes, she's spitting all over these songs with flagrant gusto, routinely outshining her spouse - something that should surprise absolutely no one, including him.
And regardless of how the inner machinations of their marriage are chugging along, these two are obviously in love with each other's rapping.
In moments like these, it feels easier than ever to relate to Jay-Z. He's a Beyoncé fan, too.