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My blog is my space to highlight academic work outside of my formal publications. Posts vary from short essays to album reviews to exemplary student work to small sample-digs that I use as warm-ups for my courses. This blog also contains the burgeoning archive of artist interviews that I am collecting for my dissertation, "Writing in the Break."

  • Tyler Bunzey

Digging the Digital Crates: The Musical Lineage of Beyonce's "Before I Let Go" Cover

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

In 2018 Beyonce performed a legendary Coachella headliner set that used black Greek life as its central motif. In 2019 she released a documentary detailing the process of having her twins, getting in shape for the concert, and performing called Homecoming. For the credit reel of Homecoming, the Queen B covered "Never Let Go," and since the cover was released, it has been creeping in to popular radio play.



The credit reel song is a cover of Frankie Beverly and the Maze, a group Beyonce's younger audience be unfamiliar with. "Before I Let Go" is by far Frankie Beverly and the Maze's greatest hit and the emblem of their career releasing nine gold albums.



The chorus of Beyonce's cover features a prominent sample from Cameo's 1986 hit "Candy."



"Candy" is famously sampled in 2Pac's "All About U" (1996).



Beyonce also samples lyrics from Kanye's "Fade" (2016): "work it to the middle til it hurt a little." (@ 1:00 of "Fade," 3:30 of "Before I Let Go").



All around, Beyonce's "Before I Let Go" is an interesting pastiche of black music in the last few decades. Let me know if you hear any other references in the Queen's cover, and I'll add them.