Beyoncé Explains How Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Jay-Z Influenced 4

Beyoncé Explains How Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Jay-Z Influenced 4

R&B's reigning queen talks about the hip hop that inspired her latest work.

Published July 19, 2011

An unlikely cast of characters helped to inspire the latest album from the unstoppable Beyoncé. Odd Future's Frank Ocean, Kanye West, and Jay-Z were three hip hop artists that Beyonce cited as influencers of 4 in an upcoming interview with Complex magazine.


"There are moments when I see his lips moving, and I can see lyrics floating above his head, and I think, 'Wow! How did I get so lucky to be able to witness this level of genius so closely?' she says of husband Jay-Z. But while he's the obvious choice for Bey's rap consumption, the singer's direct connection to him affords her some exposure to some of rap's newer talent. "Jay had a CD playing in the car one Sunday when we were driving to Brooklyn," Beyonce says of Odd Future's Frank Ocean. "I noticed his tone, his arrangements, and his storytelling. I immediately reached out to him — literally the next morning. I asked him to fly to New York and work on my record." Ocean helped pen "I Miss You."


Another collaboration on 4 inspired by Bey's appreciation for rap was "Party," produced by Kanye West. Bey admits to crying after hearing Kanye's "Runaway." She explains, "The fact that he's belting out his pain, his confusion, and his anger, with no pre-written lyrics, was so moving."


Though Beyoncé has stated in interviews that she was inspired by every genre of music, she's clearly been touched by some of rap's recent standouts. She adds, "I just want my legacy to be great music."

(Photo: AP Photo/Andrew Milligan)

Written by Kim Osorio


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