A few songs into Beyoncé’s Lemonade, the internet was abuzz not only about its commentary on gender and race and its social and political implications, but also because the songs seemed, quite frankly, to speak to infidelity. Gossip about Jay Z’s maybe-marital affairs spread, and the internet furiously searched to unpack the true identity of “Becky with the good hair.” Now, Ingrid Burley, who co-wrote “Love Drought,” is revealing the true inspiration behind one of the album’s most speculated tracks.
In an interview with Genius, the songwriter reveals that she wrote the song in a 30-minute span after becoming frustrated with Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment label. At the time, Burley, who grew up with the singer in Houston, had recently signed onto the label. Apparently, two label executives told her that Beyoncé wasn’t listening to any new music, and then an A&R coordinator revealed that she was, and that she had notes about each song. “As I’m looping this beat, I couldn’t get out of my head the fact that they just lied to me,” she says.
She then goes through the meaning behind some of the key verses of the song, which transforms into a metaphor for her relationship with music, which is the true intended “you” behind the song. Since Beyoncé is married to Jay Z, it made the entire song believable and put new context behind it. Instead of reacting to her frustration then and there, writing the song helped her react in a more constructive way. “I had to internalize that and the only way I could really get over it was kinda, like, hehe, she’s gonna sing this song I wrote about her label one day,” she says.
Whether or not it took new meaning when in Beyoncé’s hands, we’ll probably never know. All we do know is that it was never intended to be about Jay Z.