5 Things We Learned From Watching Beyoncé's 'Making The Gift' Documentary
JAY-Z, Childish Gambino and Burna Boy are a few collaborators for the project.
After releasing a moving, full-length soundtrack to The Lion King remake in July, Beyoncé returns to unveil Beyoncé Presents: Making The Gift. The documentary-style film provides a behind-the-scenes look at the global star’s collaborative album featuring well-known producers and artists. Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino are a few of the titans that contributed to the project.
The special program aired on ABC on Monday evening, and explores the expansive curation as well as “inspiration from deeply rooted African influences” that influenced the record. Travels through Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa are highlighted in the documentary, in addition to scenes featuring brainstorming meetings, studio recording sessions and more.
Keep scrolling to take a look at five things we learned from watching Beyoncé Presents: Making The Gift.
1. Each song is inspired by emotions from The Lion King movie (hence the names).
During the documentary, Beyoncé shares that each song represents emotions evoked throughout the Disney movie. She expanded on this by noting that she wanted to have a rounded body of work that represents these feelings. In a session with songwriters Raye and Stacy Barthe, Raye brought up that by taking the time to look into metaphors, they found the “intentions of the film.”
2. She didn’t want to “water down” the project or “lose the authenticity of Africa.”
When breaking down her choice to create an authentic project, she noted that there are real-life lessons in The Lion King. By creating an artistic compilation, Beyoncé looked to African creatives such as artist Bankulli, producers Bubele and Guiltybeatz, as well as music director Derek Dixie. Songwriter and artist Nija also makes an appearance during this scene.
3. Artists and contributors were flown to different locations to work with Beyoncé on the project or contributed remotely.
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) September 16, 2019
In the documentary, it becomes clear that while some artists contributed remotely, others were flown to specific studios to record with Bey. One scene shows producer P2J and artists Tekno and Lord Afrixana collaborating on a track “Don’t Jealous Me.” After this scene, the camera pans to Beyoncé who digs a bit deeper and shares that her team wanted to capture the essence of the dance culture in Africa.
4. Burna Boy‘s song “JA ARA E” is directly inspired by Lagos, Nigeria, an epicenter of culture and fashion.
During Burna Boy’s segment of the documentary, he declares that the song “JA ARA E” is inspired by Lagos. He also notes that the city is a quick-paced place where everyone is looking for a blessing. The track ultimately turns into a lush, memorable experience thanks to his biting vocals and production by Logiksmind.
5. The song “MOOD 4 EVA” featuring JAY-Z, Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré wasn’t too hard to bring to life.
Beyoncé & JAY-Z recording Mood 4 Eva in the studio. ?
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) September 17, 2019
The documentary also details the creation of “MOOD 4 EVA.” Beyoncé pinpoints that when JAY-Z started rapping off the top of his head, she was immediately into the lyrics. Combined with the melody, she notes that everything just worked. Accompanied by her catchy lyrics, the song took on an easygoing sound.