DUBAI: Beyoncé and Jay-Z stunned fans by dropping a surprise joint album this week, and the artistic video for the lead track, “Apes***,” sees the Grammy-winning queen of pop wearing a turban by French-Tunisian milliner Donia Allegue.
The nine-track album “Everything Is Love” dropped Saturday on the Tidal music streaming service that Jay-Z partially owns, before the couple released it on Spotify on Monday.
The pop diva and hip-hop superstar announced the album from the stage in London as they wrapped up the British leg that opened a global tour.
The couple also put out an elaborately choreographed video that takes place inside the Louvre museum in Paris for “Apes***,” AFP reported.
The video opens with the couple standing regally in front of the “Mona Lisa” — Jay-Z in a light green double-breasted suit, Beyoncé in a lavender pantsuit — and features a squad of scantily clad dancers moving sensually in front of Jacques Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon.”
In a later scene, Beyoncé dons a floor-length black turban by Donia Allegue with a nude-colored bodysuit by French design house Cadolle. According to Vogue Arabia, Allegue revealed that the headpiece took eight hours to create and is made of six meters of tulle.
“Honored and proud to have adorned Queen @beyonce (with) an exceptional headpiece for her grandiose clip,” the design house posted on its Instagram page this week.
The video is a veritable treasure trove of sartorial high points chosen by stylist Zerina Akers, who scored the latest designs from international runways, as well as custom pieces from various high-end brands.
Fashion aside, the album, driven by warm, sultry soul with a largely hip-hop cadence, marries the styles of the two artists but is more consistent with the recent direction of Jay-Z.
The two stars have recorded together previously, notably on the Beyoncé-led single “Drunk in Love,” but the album comes after an especially public window into their marriage.
Beyonce on her last solo album “Lemonade” in 2016 revealed infidelity on the part of Jay-Z, who a year later asked forgiveness on his own album “4:44.”
This year, as the title of “Everything is Love” implies, their relationship is apparently swell.
On the final track, the joyously brassy “Lovehappy,” the two acknowledge past pain but also their efforts to reconcile.
“We’re flawed / But we’re still perfect for each other,” Beyoncé sings.
As two of the most prominent African Americans in pop culture Jay-Z and Beyoncé have played increasingly visible political roles, from campaigning for former president Barack Obama to championing the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Everything is Love” offers a paean to African American identity in “Black Effect,” which opens in Beyoncé fashion with a monologue about self-love before a haunting soul sample.
Jay-Z on the song name-checks Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American shot dead in 2012 by a neighborhood watchman in a Florida gated community, and raps, in a twist on performers’ rote calls for crowd gesticulation, “Get your hands up high like a false arrest.”