Beyoncé loves hip-hop. The R&B superstar's admiration for the music and the culture dates way back to the late 1990s when Destiny's Child enlisted Wyclef Jean to remix their single, "No, No, No." Since then, Beyoncé has flirted with rapping throughout her illustrious career, even before becoming hip-hop royalty following her marriage to billionaire rapper Jay-Z.
In another solid hip-hop moment, Beyoncé salutes her hometown of Houston on the chopped-and-screwed banger "I Be Down," which she dropped on her SoundCloud page in 2013. On the song, the 24-time Grammy Award-winning singer is rapping, displaying bravado and swagger similar to her male rap counterparts.
She was also spitting melodic bars on "Apeshit," her Everything Is Love track with Jay-Z in 2018. Their opulent video features the hip-hop couple showcasing Black excellence amid elegant artworks and statues at the Louvre in Paris.
This year, her feature on fellow Houston native Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage (Remix)" proved that her hip-hop moments keep elevation. On the track, Bey spits boastful bars about being on demon time and praising the use of OnlyFans to rack up some big B's. "The B stand for bands/If you wanna see some real ass, baby, here's your chance," she rhymes on the track.
Queen Bey has solidified her spot in the hip-hop world, even rapping alongside the big dawgs. We wouldn't be surprised if Beyoncé is working on a rap album right now. So it's time we give Queen Bey her flowers. XXL highlights Beyoncé's Best Hip-Hop Moments below.
Teams Up With Wyclef Jean in "No, No, No (Part 2)" Video (1998)
As part of Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé tapped Wyclef Jean to remix “No, No, No (Part 1)” and give it some hip-hop flavor. “Wyclef is a musical genius who has a lot to do with our success,” Beyoncé told Spin magazine in 2000 about 'Clef's contribution. The Wyclef Jean-remixed part 2 reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Makes an Appearance in Geto Boys' "Gangsta Put Me Down" Video (1998)
Beyoncé made a cameo appearance in the Geto Boys’ 1998 video for “Gangsta Put Me Down,” in which Scarface and Willie D recreate famous scenes in popular gangster films like The Godfather and Goodfellas. In the clip, a young Beyoncé sings the hook next to Willie D. Years later, Queen Bey recalled her appearance in the video at the end of her 2013 song “Bow Down/I Be Down.” “Shout out to Willie D. I was in that Willie D video when I was about 14,” said Beyoncé in a distorted voice.
Takes on Sultry and Sexy Role in Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001)
She made her acting debut in MTV’s 2001 hip-hop movie musical, Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, based on the 1954 film Carmen Jones, which starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. In the TV film, Beyoncé played the titular femme fatale Carmen Brown, an aspiring singer caught in a love triangle between three men: Sgt. Brown (played by Mekhi Phifer), crooked cop Lieutenant Miller (played by Yasiin Bey) and an up-and-coming rapper Blaze (played by Casey Lee). Throughout the film, Bey raps and sings with several other rappers including Wyclef Jean, Da Brat, Jermaine Dupri and Rah Digga.
Partners With Future Husband Jay-Z on "03 Bonnie & Clyde" (2002)
In 2002, the singer recorded her first musical duet with her soon-to-be future husband Jay-Z on "03 Bonnie & Clyde.” The song flips Tupac Shakur’s classic 1996 track “Me and My Girlfriend.” While ’Pac is referring to a gun in his song, Hov is touting Bey as his ride-or-die chick on his song. Their collaboration also sparked rumors that they were in a budding relationship, which they kept secret from the media. “The song was so perfect with the timing,” Jay said about the track in a 2003 Playboy magazine interview. “This was when everyone was first talking about B and I. As a songwriter, you can’t help but express your life through your music. I was definitely playing with the controversy of it all.”
Makes Relationship With Jay-Z Official in "Crazy In Love" Video (2003)
After months of speculation about their burgeoning relationship, Beyoncé and Jay-Z pretty much confirmed their coupledom with their energetic “Crazy in Love” video. The song appeared on Queen Bey’s first solo album, Dangerously in Love, which skyrocketed her to major R&B and pop stardom.
Links With T.I. and Lil Wayne for "Soldier" (2004)
A year after releasing her solo album, Beyoncé reunited with fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams and released Destiny Fulfilled in 2004. One of the standout tracks from LP was “Soldier,” for which they enlisted Tip and Weezy to spit their tough bars on the track.
Flips 50 Cent's "In Da Club" for "Sexy Lil' Thug" (2003)
Back on her solo grind, Beyoncé dropped her Speak My Mind mixtape in February 2005 ahead of her 2006 effort, B’Day. The mixtape offered her first foray into blending hip-hop with her R&B sound. A perfect example of this is on "Sexy Lil' Thug,” where she flipped 50 Cent’s 2003 banger “In Da Club” into a seductive Rap&B ballad.
Reps Houston in "Check On It" Video With Slim Thug and Bun B (2005)
She continued her Rap&B streak with the bouncy track “Check On It” featuring Houston rhymers Slim Thug and Bun B. The Hype Williams-directed visual features Queen Bey in 12 different outfits and plenty of scenes where she showcases the moves that made her a dancing phenom. “['Check On It'] is so fun, it makes you feel like a child again and we wanted to put some of that in the choreography and the feel of the video,” she told MTV in 2006. “It's all about checking on yourself and making sure you're moving tight and your man admiring how you move. It's simple.”
Beyoncé Marries Jay-Z (2008)
After six years of courtship, Beyoncé and Jay-Z tied the knot in a secretive ceremony at Hov's penthouse apartment in New York on April 4, 2008. The date 4/4 has a significant meaning for the hip-hop couple as the numeral 4 is the hip-hop couple's favorite number; both Bey and Jay are born on the 4th — Sept. 4 and Dec. 4, respectively. At the nuptials, Beyoncé donned a billowing white gown, while Jay-Z looked dapper in a black tuxedo. "Beyoncé looked beautiful," an insider told People. Instead of wearing wedding rings, the couple chose to have the Roman numeral "IV" tattoo on their fourth/ring fingers to solidify their bond.
Reveals Life at Home With Jay-Z Is a Little Messy (2009)
In a March 2009 interview with Ebony magazine, a newly-married Beyoncé talked about her marital life with hubby Jay-Z. "I'm a little messy," she told the mag about her home life with Hov. "Whenever I'm out in public, I have to be put together. When I get home, I rebel against it, and I don't want to take care of anything." Beyoncé also added that she might be too unorganized for Jay when she's chilling at home. "I think that is the most difficult thing for him," she said. "He's very, very organized."
Sings the Praises of Frank Ocean (2011)
Beyoncé worked with several different artists on her fourth studio project, 4. One person she was extremely eager to work with was Frank Ocean. Apparently, the R&B queen heard a song from Frank while she was riding in a car with Jay-Z. "I noticed his tone, his arrangements, and his storytelling,” she explained to an interviewer in July 2011. “I immediately reached out to him—literally the next morning. I asked him to fly to New York and work on my record." The pair eventually collaborated on the 4 track, "I Miss You."
Flexes Old-School Dance Moves in "Let's Move!" Campaign Video (2011)
A great hip-hop moment for Beyoncé came in April of 2011 when she helped then-First Lady Michelle Obama with her "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity. The R&B superstar flipped the lyrics to her 2006 hit "Get Me Bodied" into "Move Your Body" and shot a campaign video with school kids in a school cafeteria. In the clip, Bey and the students perform a dance-style workout that includes several old-school dances like the Running Man and the Dougie. "What we want to do is make it fun by doing something that we all love to do, and that's dance," said Beyoncé.
Celebrates Bond With Jay-Z in "Drunk In Love" Video (2013)
Beyoncé and Jay-Z continued their lovefest in song, this time with their black-and-white video for “Drunk in Love.” An obvious nod to their first chart-topping hit together, “Crazy in Love,” Bey sings about her sexual appetite for her husband and compares it to the effects of alcohol. The video itself is visually captivating with Bey joyously dancing on the beach and Hov rapping while holding a glass of D'ussé in his hand. “We were in Miami for Jay’s concert, and it was just the two of us, on the beach, amazing weather, and one outfit! It’s beautiful in its simplicity,” she told Out magazine in April of 2014.
Reigns Supreme on Chopped-and-Screwed Banger "Bow Down/I Been Down" (2013)
The famed artist showed love to her beloved hometown of Houston with her braggadocios track "Bow Down" with the chopped-and-screwed head-nodder "I Be Down," which she dropped on SoundCloud in 2011. Despite some critics frowning at Queen Bey screaming, "Bow down, bitches" on the song, Houston rap icon Willie D was supportive of the singer's in-your-face lyrics. "To me, Beyoncé is H-Town royalty," he said. A year later, H-Town rap veteran Lil Keke dropped a trill version of "I Be Down" featuring Lone Star legends Z-Ro, Slim Thug, Bun B, Scarface and Willie D.
Teams Up With Nicki Minaj for "Flawless (Remix)" (2014)
Another great hip-hop moment came when Beyoncé teamed up with Nick Minaj for her “Flawless (Remix)” in 2014. For Nicki, it was a dream come true to work with Queen Bey. “[My manager] Gee [Roberson] called me when I was on my way to Vegas, and he said, ‘Beyoncé wants you to remix ���Flawless,'” she recalled in an interview with Hot 97. “And after, I got proper medical help and started breathing again, I was like, ‘What?'"
Pays Homage to New Orleans and Bounce Music in "Formation" Video (2016)
A memorable event for Beyoncé in paying homage to hip-hop came in February of 2016, when she released her surprise single, “Formation.” The accompanying video pays homage to New Orleans and bounce music, which originated in the late 1980s in the NOLA housing projects. The Mike WiLL Made-It-produced track also features Big Freedia, the self-proclaimed Queen of Bounce Music. The song would close out Beyoncé’s sixth album, Lemonade, which she released in 2016.
Delivers Electrifying Performance of "Formation" at Super Bowl 50 (2016)
A day after dropping her “Formation” video, she one-upped herself with another electrifying hip-hop moment at Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. During the halftime event, Beyoncé joined headliner Bruno Mars and delivered a powerful performance that was inspired by the Black Panther Party and the growing Black Lives Matter movement. Dressed in all black, Queen Bey was flanked by a bevy of female dancers as she performed “Formation” and in mid-performance had a dance-off with Bruno over a classic hip-hop breakbeat. Beyoncé’s performance was unforgettable and artful.
Dresses Up as Salt-N-Pepa for Halloween (2016)
Her Instagram page is always lit. On Halloween in 2016, the R&B superstar treated fans to a photos of herself, her mom Tina Knowles-Lawson and daughter Blue Ivy dressed as the iconic hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa and DJ Spinderella. As for Jay-Z, it appears he was dressed as either Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor or Dwayne Wayne. Looks like these ladies were certainly having a 1990's hip-hop moment on the scariest day of the year.
Hangs Out with Cardi B at Made In America Festival (2017)
In a too-good-to-be-true hip-hop moment, Cardi B finally met her idol, Queen Bey. Before hitting the stage at Philadelphia’s Made In America music festival, Bardi hugged it out with Mrs. Carter backstage. The Grammy Award-winning rapper shared a photo of their hugfest on her Instagram page and captioned it, “Bitch I met Beyoncé Bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!” The pic sparked rumors that Bardi and Queen Bey would collaborate on a song, but it never came to fruition. According to Bardi’s producer, J. White Did It, they were working on a track together but was later scrapped after the song leaked on the internet.
Channels Lil' Kim in Multiple Costumes for Halloween (2017)
For Halloween in 2017, Beyoncé dressed up as hip-hop icon Lil’ Kim. On her Instagram account, the R&B superstar shared several images of herself dressed in multiple outfits channeling Kim’s iconic looks. Bey chose five of the Brooklyn rapper’s ensembles to replicate in an Instagram post. In the caption, Bey paid tribute to Kim writing, "Hip-hop would not be the same without our original Queen B." In response, Kim appreciated Queen Bey’s tribute. “I’m speechless and honored,” she wrote on Twitter.
Releases Opulent "Apeshit" Music Video (2018)
The Carters delivered an opulent visual for their bombastic track "Apeshit" from their collaborative project, Everything Is Love. In the six-minute clip, helmed by Ricky Saiz, the hip-hop couple shut down the Louvre museum in Paris and went, well, apeshit. Bey and Hov look regal behind the backdrop of exquisite artwork like the Mona Lisa painting and the Venus de Milo statue. Quavo makes a cameo in the video as a winged angel. Once again, Bey delivers an unforgettable hip-hop moment that was artsy and powerful.
Dances to O.T. Genesis' "Everybody Mad" at Coachella Music Festival (2018)
Beyoncé’s headlining performance at the 2018 Coachella Music and Arts Festival was so legendary that fans dubbed the event Beychella. One of the many highlights from the concert was Queen Bey flipping O.T. Genasis’ banger “Everybody Mad” into a foot-stomping, HBCU band-marching, girl power anthem. Genasis had no idea at the time that Bey was going to use his song for her show. When he found out, the Conglomerate Records artist gave a shout out to the R&B queen. “Beychella was amazing!!! Thanks for the love @Beyoncé ..That was lit,” he tweeted on his Twitter page.
Spits Bars in South Africa During Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert (2018)
After all these hip-hop collaborations, there have been a few times when Beyoncé started spitting bars herself. In December of 2018, the R&B singer wowed the crowd with her rapping skills at a festival honoring the year of what would have been Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Although Bey was rapping her verses from "Apeshit," her clear and dexterous rhyme flow had the South African crowd frantically jumping up and down. It was a great hip-hop moment for Queen Bey and the Motherland.
Partners With Megan Thee Stallion for "Savage (Remix)" (2020)
In April, the Grammy Award-winning superstar hopped on fellow Houston native Megan Thee Stallion’s "Savage (Remix)" and helped give the 2019 XXL Freshman her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart a month later. Over a bouncy, piano-driven track produced by J. White Did It, Bey brags about her dancing hips, salutes family matriarch Tina Knowles-Lawson and shouts out social media video platforms TikTok and OnlyFans. "Hips TikTok when I dance (Dance)/On that Demon time, she might start a OnlyFans (OnlyFans)/Big B and that B stand for bands/If you wanna see some real ass, baby, here's your chance," Bey raps on the song.
See 25 of the Best Illustrated Hip-Hop Album and Mixtape Covers of All Time