I get what Beyonce was going for here…the I Am…Sasha Fierce album was all about experimentation, and experiments, by definition, have the potential to fail. In fact, part of me respects her for trying such a daring sonic experiment as this one on such a high-profile Pop album. That’s not to say that this is a good or even redeemable song, though. For one thing, even if everything else about the song had worked, it would have failed on the music alone. With one of Bangladesh’s standard vertigo-inducing beats and one of his trademark fragmentary, insanely repetitive choruses, Beyonce couldn’t have salvaged this song even if she had been in top form, which she kind of emphatically wasn’t. I’ve wondered why her more recent attempts at rapping were so much more successful than this, and I’ve concluded that the pose she was striking on them (that of an utterly confident star at the top of her game, powerfully sexual but in complete control) is exactly what she actually is, so she came across as natural and convincing. But what Beyonce definitely isn’t is ‘The female version of da hustla’, and so her attempts to portray herself as a credible gender-flipped thug are just risible, even without the awful music.
Verdict: You have to acknowledge the courage it took to try this, but bad.