From 'Formation' to 'Family Feud,' here's what we want to see from the Carters on the road.
When Beyonce and JAY-Z embarked on the original On the Run Tour in 2014, it was a much simpler time for hip-hop’s royal couple. Two years after the tour’s commencement, Beyonce would drop Lemonade, a now-iconic surprise album that addressed her husband’s infidelity, to which Jay responded with the repenting 4:44 a year later.
The cheating revelation was an obvious complication for Beyonce’s independent woman narrative, and a confusing twist to the couple’s fabled story of family and commitment.
So while a classic like “Bonnie and Clyde” will probably pop in the second half of the night, it’s also worth speculating that there might be more of a potential “Upgrade U” vibe. We’ve compiled our own hypothetical setlist for the upcoming tour, with all aspects of the Carters' relationship in mind and including a fantasy moment of Beyonce rapping "you ain't married to no average bitch boy" with a compliant Jay watching on in solidarity.
“Drunk in Love,” Beyonce and JAY-Z
“I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” JAY-Z
“Upgrade U,” Beyonce and JAY-Z
In a dream world, the show would start off simple enough with a nice little mix of the pair's loving history -- a rendition of 2013's classic and raunchy "Drunk In Love" to get the people going, followed by Jay's early 2000's staple "I Just Wanna Love U," concluding with what is (arguably) one of the couple's best collabs, "Upgrade U."
“Ring the Alarm,” Beyonce
“Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Beyonce
“Hold Up,” Beyonce
When "Ring the Alarm" came out in 2006, the song had me worried about my non-existent man, money, and pride at the ripe old age of 12. At the time, the narrative just seemed like a great way to make a song hook, but since then, its made itself clear as a probable reality in Beyonce's life. Ten years later, she dropped "Don't Hurt Yourself," the modern version of that same tale, rapping "you can't watch my fat ass twist boy, as I bounce to the next d--ck boy" in response to her husband's cheating. Lemonade's softer element's shouldn't be forgotten, however, as a bat-wielding Bey pleads "they don't love you like I love you" on "Hold Up."
“The Story of O.J.,” JAY-Z
“Family Feud,” JAY-Z and Beyonce
And here's to JAY-Z's response. On 2017's Grammy-nominated 4:44, Jay raps about where he went wrong, saying "you matured faster than me I wasn't ready" on the song's title track. He even has Beyonce come in for some proven reconciliation to assure everyone that "nobody wins when the family feuds."
“N---as In Paris,” JAY-Z
“99 Problems,” JAY-Z
“Run the World (Girls),” Beyonce
This part of the set would deliver an imagined musical argument between the two, with Jay rapping some of his more misogynistic lines on "99 Problems." Beyonce would ideally respond with black female empowerment anthems like "Formation," another cut from 2016's Lemonade that wouldn't have made the first On the Run tour.
“PSA (Public Service Announcement),” JAY-Z
“Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” JAY-Z
“Big Pimpin',” JAY-Z
Breaking away a bit from the cheating thing, this part's here to let JAY-Z go off a bit on some of his own classics, largely all from his insanely prolific early-2000s reign as King of Rap. While there are obviously some potential allusions to infidelity, whether or not the specific cuts are part of the larger narrative of their relationship remains up for audience interpretation.
“Single Ladies,” Beyonce
Unrelated to JAY-Z, this is Beyonce's section to go off as she embodies empowerment and independence in this trio of iconic staples.
“U Don’t Know,” JAY-Z
“Dirt off Your Shoulder,” JAY-Z
“Beach is Better,” JAY-Z
Here is JAY-Z's classics section continued, hitting the Blueprint's "U Don't Know" and his collaborative effort with Kanye West, "Otis." Since this is a dream setlist, we'll go ahead and say Kanye comes in for his verse as well.
“Feeling Myself,” Beyonce
“Get Me Bodied,” Beyonce
“Freakum Dress,” Beyonce
“Deja Vu,” Beyonce and JAY-Z
Beyonce's 15-year solo career needs a little bit more time for completion, so to highlight the rest, she'll run through her discography in reverse order, starting with "Sorry," a song dedicated to an unbothered attitude, followed by another about "feeling (herself)," all before taking it all the way back to a pairing from 2006's B'Day LP.
“No Church in the Wild,” JAY-Z
“Hard Knock Life,” JAY-Z
Much like Beyonce, Jay needs a bit more time to run through a couple more of his classics.
“On the Run Pt. II,” JAY-Z and Beyonce
“Song Cry,” JAY-Z
“If I Were a Boy,” Beyonce
Here things get taken down a notch: The two will come back together for their last tour's mainstay "On the Run," and then they'll both show their softer sides on their respective cuts, with each loosely touching on breakups and misunderstandings from their own perspectives.
“Love on Top,” Beyonce
“Shining,” Beyonce and JAY-Z
But the show won't end on a sad note. Beyonce will reel it back in with "Love On Top," and then they'll both hit the braggadocious DJ Khaled cut to close things out.
“Bonnie and Clyde,” JAY-Z and Beyonce
“Top Off,” JAY-Z and Beyonce
“Crazy in Love,” Beyonce and JAY-Z
And, of course, there's an encore. Last tour opened with "Bonnie and Clyde," so this time, we're suspecting they'll flip it. Then, another much more recent Khaled banger with "Top Off," but finishing off the show with one of the most iconic duets of all time: "Crazy in Love," with visuals that featured a 22-year-old Beyonce dancing in an off-the-shoulder mink as Jay rapped in front of a burning car. If this is truly the show of our dreams, they'll remake the video onstage for grand finale.