Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter with Justice Smith and Kendra James | Crooked Media
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April 03, 2024
Keep It
Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter with Justice Smith and Kendra James

In This Episode

Ira, Louis, and guest host Kendra James discuss Beyoncé’s sprawling new album Cowboy Carter. Justice Smith joins Ira and Louis to discuss the American Society of Magical Negroes, critical responses to the film, and more. Plus, Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 World Tour and the internet’s debate on hot SNL cast members.

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Ira Madison III Yeehaw! We’re back with an all new episode of Keep It. I’m cowboy Madison.


Louis Virtel I’m rootin tootin, Grand slam breakfast, Louis Virtel. And we’re not alone this time at the Hootenanny. We have a third cast member today, Crooked Media’s esteemed authorist. An amazing author, by the way, but also maybe a more amazing podcaster. The fabulous Kendra James. Hi.


Kendra James Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited. I have been two-stepping for this three day weekend.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I am excited too. I really like this album. I have some thoughts. We’ll get into all of it. Obviously this is the Cowboy Carter episode. I was already harangued on social media that this episode had better just be about the album.


Louis Virtel To be fair, I don’t even know what else would be talked about.


Kendra James Nothing else happended.


Louis Virtel . Yeah, this was pop culture this weekend.


Ira Madison III Jojo Siwa was rebrands.


Kendra James I did see that. That did get into my algorithm.


Louis Virtel It won’t be her last.


Ira Madison III Yeah, she was at the iHeart Awards last night with Beyonce, who, honestly, this is such a fun era to me and a lot of people have compared it to I am Sasha Fierce. Just because, you know, first of all, it’s a sprawling album as long as hell. It is 27 tracks. It is about 79 minutes. And it it feels along in the same way that I Am Sasha Fierce was a very long double disc. And it’s also a very accessible throwback era for her. Like she popped up at the iHeart Awards, last night to get the Innovator Award from Stevie Wonder, where she revealed that he was playing the harmonica on Jolene.


Louis Virtel How many secret route fucking reveals can this album have?


Kendra James That’s been. I have no criticisms, really, for this album, aside from the fact that I have been sitting around having to guess where I’m thinking. I’m hearing people because there are not full credits out, right? There are partial credits on title, but it doesn’t have, like, Who’s Playing What. And that’s what I want to give these people their flowers, but we’ll get into it.


Louis Virtel But but it’s like, give these people it’s like thousands and thousands of people like like it’s it’s longer than any Beyonce Vogue rap could possibly entail.


Kendra James I think also there’s first of all, there’s a big issue with the album where the the vinyls were pressed, weeks ago and now the vinyls have arrived and does not have YaYa on it, the Linda Martell show, does not have Flamenco, which is perfectly fine. And it doesn’t have Oh, Louisiana on it. And this is a problem that has popped up in vinyls recently. You know, Nicki Minaj had her album, pressed on vinyl and it was missing several tracks. And then Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine was also missing vocals on the song Supernatural. So this is a problem that is popping up lately. Mostly because people are printing the vinyls earlier than the album is being available on digital, and it’s very evident that these artists, particularly Beyonce, have been working on the album until the last possible minute, which is kind of unusual for her. I feel like, but a lot of people mentioned that they were laying down vocals, or they were mixing things for this album up to like a week before it was released. So she was tinkering with the final project of Act ii, right before it was supposed to come out. Even the vinyls in the CD have the original title, Beyince, on it. It does not say call work order anywhere except for a sticker which is put onto the vinyls and the CD.


Kendra James And people are really upset about this. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the subreddit.


Ira Madison III They’re pressed.


Louis Virtel Really like a vinyl.


Kendra James Yeah, much like and for me, I kind of like. I get it, you’re upset you wanted your full thing, but if you read the website description, there was no tracklist. When we ordered this thing, there was no promise of a bonus poster. There was no promise of anything aside from your getting some sort of vinyl pressing. And so I’m not I’m not super upset. This feels so close to a misprint. Just due to the packaging also being wrong. Which says to me that I’m just like, well, I’m going to buy the real one when it comes out and I’m going to not take the the plastic off of this, and it’s going to be worth some money for years.


Louis Virtel Yeah. It’s like having the postage stamp with the upside down airplane on it, whatever. It’s like, well, one day I’ll put this on whatever super post-apocalyptic eBay is and then make $1 trillion.


Ira Madison III Yeah, they made a 911 stamp.


Louis Virtel Oh, that’s your joke on that? Okay, enjoy comedy central in 2003.


Ira Madison III Get me on midnight. Yeah. Yeah, I feel like it. It’s very funny that this is being taken this way, because it almost feels in a way like. Not to invoke his name. I’m so sorry, but can I ask if you recall particularly the Life of Pablo? Where people kept making jokes, where it kept changing and then adding and taking things away from the streaming version. Beyoncé at least hasn’t done that. The album is out, and she’s not tinkering with the streaming version. And honestly, I feel like maybe she even just announced the album date and was like. This is going to make me start working on it because it was supposed to be. We know that she’s the perfectionist. Virgo. We’ve seen too many documentaries where she is down to the right light bulb. This needs to be perfect. And we also know that from interviews that this was supposed to be act one, right? Originally. So we can talk about that now. It was originally supposed to be act one. She recorded all of these, projects, started them during Covid, like 2020, 2019. And she was originally going to release this as act one. But after the pandemic, she decided that people, you know, really needed to dance, you know, they needed to, boogie on down to the disco tag. That’s why we got Renaissance first. And honestly, good for her, because if this album had been released first. I do not know how well it would have been received.


Louis Virtel Especially at the beginning of like a trilogy. Like if we thought this was the first chapter, because I feel like this is a good, you know, what it’s like. Back to the future part three. Oh, we’ll take a stop at the Old West, but it’s not the whole story, you know?


Ira Madison III And it definitely is our leading into, I guess, perceptions of her perceptions of what we thought this album was going to be. It kept, we kept saying, this is the country album, this is the country album. And she is sort of helped along with that by releasing Texas Hold them, by releasing, 16 carriages, having them labeled as country on iTunes. And then she was like, well, it’s not a country album, it’s a Beyonce album. And now listening to it, I would more classify this album as a Western, not country.


Kendra James I’ve been calling it Americana in my head, just like overall Americana. And I will say this era of hers, of these acts, it does seem to be the era where we’re just going to release the singles that tell you absolutely nothing about what the album is actually going to sound, right?


Louis Virtel No, it’s I would compare it to Taylor Swift in that way when, you know, Shake It Off comes out and then the rest of the album is a completely sonically, different situation. Yeah. I might also add the word outlaw to how I would describe it because, it’s more like, yeah, there’s like a cinematic western atmosphere to the album, but there’s not like nothing sounds, for example, like, and I’m not saying anybody thought the album would sound like this. Shania Twain, like everything is more like folk and vintage with then newer styles introduced kind of alongside the Peckinpah atmosphere of the album.


Kendra James Yeah, and it’s overall also like this is her most violent album, I would say, which I find to be very interesting. She is. She’s killing people.


Ira Madison III She’s psychotic. Yeah, Daughter is a deranged saw, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves because this is just the intro. This is just our, Keep It Requiem.


Louis Virtel Yeah. If you will. Yeah.


Kendra James Nothing, really else


Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah. Yes. It is. It’s excited to have kids are here. We’re going to get into the full album. We also have, Justice Smith here this week. An amazing actor. I love him.


Louis Virtel Very excited to talk to Justice Smith.


Ira Madison III Yes. And, it is it is also very weird to be sitting here, back in New York recording this because I was truly just in LA for the last one. And then I did a bunch of. Segments and videos with Kendra. And then I came back to New York, and then I saw Louis in New York.


Louis Virtel Yes. Horse Meat Disco, which is just a colossal, apocalyptic gay scape where you just you walk in and you’re immediately like. Like there’s sweat on you, like, laminate immediately. But I was having a wonderful time and, you know, making friends, if you will.


Kendra James That will work.


Ira Madison III Yeah. So.


Louis Virtel So I reported on it in the police blotter in the 70s. A bunch of gays were out making friends last night. Where was your family?


Ira Madison III You know, I will say not not, not to get into the horse meat of it all, but it’s at the Knockdown Center. And. I love the Knockdown Center, but there needs to be something done about the floats in that place. The specific part on the right side it is giving fire hazard.


Louis Virtel Do you know what it reminds me of in Teenage Ninja Turtles? When they there’s the underground skate park and arcade zone where you can go, but it’s also like caked with smoke because in those days, people that smoked inside. But anyway, it just has that weird, where am I atmosphere. How is there this much room in the city, etc.?


Kendra James How are you all both doing? I can’t do this anymore. I have not seen the sunrise in Hell’s Kitchen since I was like 24.


Louis Virtel I was fully home by three a no. Yeah, I have a seal. I cannot do sleep deprivation. And by the way, also, before I begin, I just want to say mysteriously, yesterday I was in a terrible car accident. I was T-boned driving home. I am completely fine. I am not injured at all, but I want to say I was discombobulated afterwards. It was a crazy feeling. You don’t know what to do. You’re wondering if you’re okay. And I just want to say that headspace is exactly right for beginning Traitors Australia season two, which is only for people who have recently been concussed. Oh my God. They are the zany cast I have ever seen. It is immediately laughable and only gets crazier. So I’m just saying if you’ve suffered some, you know, kind of debilitating moment, all hope is not lost for you. You’re ready for reality TV.


Ira Madison III Did they, season two of Australia to Peacock? Yes. Okay, great. Okay. Because I was waiting for. I hate using a VPN, to be honest, and I have only. I only use it to watch Survivor Australia. But, I’ve been getting people into season two of UK because that’s been on Peacock.


Louis Virtel Which is fabulous.


Ira Madison III If you think that this is like Beyonce’s most violent album, Traitors season two UK, you think the traitors are actually murdering people anyway that this house is attack, there’s one traitor who is truly psychotic.


Louis Virtel And also, by the way, again, it’s just a role in a game you are assigned. There’s nothing actually, quote unquote psychotic about what’s happening. And the way people get into character is frightening, you know.


Kendra James Internalized.


Louis Virtel Yes. Right.


Louis Virtel The Phaedra Parks method.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Precisely.


Ira Madison III And honestly, the way that people who are faithfuls talk about morality in the game of traitors, as if it could have been you who was tapped, and we can come a traitor. At the beginning of the game.


Louis Virtel No, they truly think of themselves as victims as opposed to game show contestants.


Ira Madison III Okay, I’m very excited that Australia season two, is on Peacock, so I will be watching that. I also want to do a quick shout out to Deal or No Deal Islands.


Louis Virtel Oh Jesus Christ.


Ira Madison III For the girls who are familiar with Deal or No Deal, obviously, you know, there’s the banker, there’s the, there’s the ladies with the briefcases, and you’re basically just picking random briefcases and seeing how much money is. And, and then the banker will make you a deal, and you have to guess if he’s bluffing you or if there’s more or less in your suitcase. Deal or no Deal Island is like Survivor meets Deal or No Deal. Everyone is living on this island and they compete in challenges, and then the person who gets the highest amount in a briefcase is immune. And then they decide between the two people who have the lowest amount, who is going to play the bankers game. And when that person wins, they get to select whoever they want to be eliminated except for the immune person. But if they lose, they have to leave the island. And I was immediately drawn in because Boston Rob is on this show.


Louis Virtel Oh, I didn’t realize they were working with the familiar.


Kendra James Oh yeah, I did not know that.


Ira Madison III Boston well, it’s all random new people except for Boston Rob and Claudia Jordan.


Kendra James Excuse me?


Ira Madison III Yes, I know that. Yes, she is on that. And she keeps her home. Vegas. She’s talking about how, she has experience playing this because she used to be one of the Deal or No Deal briefcase models.


Kendra James Right? Right.


Louis Virtel Oh, Excuse me, which is like your Vanna White, basically. That is unbelievable.


Ira Madison III That’s like.


Louis Virtel You don’t even know wha’s in the briefcase when you’re holding it.


Ira Madison III Yeah, right. It’s like Vanna White coming to Wheel of Fortune and say, I know this game like the back of my hand.


Kendra James How did JoJo Siwa’s rebrand, get across my algorithm. And Claudia Jordan living on an island, didn’t? Something’s very wrong.


Ira Madison III I had no idea, but I think I think I’m like, officially Peacock hive.


Louis Virtel I guess.


Ira Madison III I love Traitors.


Louis Virtel Oh, excuse me. When I ran out of Traitors, I literally started watching old Project Runway episode so that I could stick around Peacock in case more Traitors happens. I just wanted to be nearby.


Kendra James I just want to make sure the app worked.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III Since the Days of Our Lives moved to Peacock and lost NBC, I obviously watch it every day. I think we needed some sort of soap opera Traitors, to be honest. Or mix some of them in there.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Why not?


Kendra James You know, I could see Eileen Davidson popping over.


Ira Madison III Oh, I would love Eileen Davidson on Traitors because if you think housewives are big over the top. Give us some soap actors on the traitors. Auditioning to get back on whatever show that they’ve been cut from.


Louis Virtel Well, by the way, once upon a time you could count on Big Brother cast members at least one per season, getting, like, a quick role on The Bold and The Beautiful or something. And I love that trashy pipeline. Just I think that’s kind of where they belong. So let’s keep that going.


Ira Madison III Yeah. So I am firmly pro Deal or No Deal Island, but I do want to let you know that, like the normal people on there are truly, like, Midwest yokels.


Louis Virtel My people.


Kendra James There.


Louis Virtel Oh, you’re saying representation matters. Okay. Very good.


Ira Madison III All right so what we are back. We are going to dive into Cowboy Carter track by track. Just how you want it.


Speaker 3 <AD>


Ira Madison III Okay, so this album starts out with a song of American Requiem, and because it’s Act ii, all of the song titles with an I have a double I on them, which which is part of the Act ii ness of it all. But I also feel like it’s part of her, drawl, if you choose to pronounce it that way.


Louis Virtel I also think she just wants us fighting with autocorrect all weekend. Excuse me, the battles I have waged against my phone for this woman, just to explain my feeling about a song.


Ira Madison III When you’re typing the song titles to people, Kendra, do you add the extra i?


Kendra James I have been because that’s the way she wanted it and I and so I respect that.


Ira Madison III But I stopped.


Kendra James All right, well, someone’s.


Ira Madison III River Dance. It’s just it’s just two words, okay. I, I I, I just not need to double forward reverb. Riverdance. Okay. I’m not invoking Michael Flatley. We’ll get to that. But American Requiem is how we open up the album. And we know that Beyonce loves an intro. She loves an overture. This is very pray you catch me from lemonade. It’s dramatic and it’s solemn. And then it gets into, I guess, the theme of the album. It discusses the CMAs incident, and how she was really sort of angered and propelled into making this project.


Kendra James I mean, I saw this track. First of all, I think it’s her best opening track on any of the eight albums, hands down. And I saw art really, as this is a thesis statement because as, as you’re saying, it doesn’t name the CMAs, which, by the way, have we had proof of life from the CMAs since this dropped?


Louis Virtel Yeah, right.


Kendra James I’ve not seen a peep. I have not heard from anyone. Like, are they cowering? Where are they?


Louis Virtel And we know we’re not there core demo to be sure. So it’s possible. We don’t know.


Kendra James I’ve been I’ve been click clacking around. I’ve been looking. Okay.


Ira Madison III Has anyone checked the Klan rallies? Yeah.


Kendra James No, but yeah, it’s the clearest thesis that she has ever laid out about an album. And it really tells you from the lyrics to the style of music that it goes through throughout the song. It tells you exactly what you’re getting from this album. You’re hearing sort of that 70s guitar. You’re hearing a lot of Beatles influence. I felt like what you’re getting obviously straight into the next track, but then also in other places throughout the album. I it’s rare that a first song is like one of my favorites, but I the more I thought about it this weekend, American Requiem like firmly slots into at least my top five, I think, on this album.


Louis Virtel And in fact, if that song weren’t there, the album would suffer because there are so many directions on this album that you almost need, like a compass at the beginning to tell you, well, it’s going to go all these different places. In fact, I would say the most surprising thing about this album is because as I experience that, country feels like one particular thing, the amount of influences that are not country are very surprising. You know, just like like, I would never expect to hear the Beatles in any form on this album. And yet it’s like, oh, I guess picking Blackbird has country in the moment in YaYa with Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys, it’s like, who knew she cared? You know, it’s like it’s very interesting. Like what she. I mean, because obviously she’s performing to the anthem this the vocals are so masterfully done, some of her best vocals ever. But at the same time it’s like, just like on Renaissance, she is moving between so many roles. It’s like it is didactic. She’s literally stepping aside from being a star to be like these other things have mattered before me. They will matter after me and I’m going to work with them and and also do my own thing. So there’s just a lot of, explaining and strategizing as well as simply being Beyonce on the album.


Kendra James Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yeah, there’s a lot of homework with the album.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Well, let me say something about exactly that word, which is sometimes it feels like, oh, she did the homework and then occasionally it feels like homework.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I mean, I, I feel I felt very much like that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Where Will and Carlton are the two black kids in this, African-American studies class? And she reprimands them for not working as hard as the white students to learn about what’s going on. It’s the felt very much like, oh, I put on Ariana Grande album again on Sunday because I needed a break. I needed I just, you know, needed to bop to ponytail again. And then I felt I felt like a knock at my door and it was beyond sad.


Louis Virtel In her headmistress outfit.


Kendra James She said, I gave you tyrant.


Ira Madison III Hahahahahahaha. Excuse me, the pop quiz is on Tuesday morning. But no, I mean, it doesn’t feel arduous. In that homework way the entire time. But there are definitely traps. There are definitely moments where you’re feeling like you’re feeling the bird. You’re feeling like you are really the strain of your brain trying to figure out what she was doing here. And I think a lot of that is also lending it to the fact that we didn’t get the full credits immediately. We didn’t, you know, we didn’t know things like Stevie Wonder is doing the harmonica on Jolene and made me have to run that track back. Okay. Because Jolene is not one of my favorites on here, and we’ll get to that one. But American Requiem into Blackbird. I love that song. The I love that song in general from The Beatles. I think it’s a beautiful song. I love that it has the reference to the little Rock nine and I love I feel like that’s obviously why she picked this song. It’s beautiful. I think it would be amazing if she did it, done it on tour, if it were this live rendition of Blackbird from Beyonce that you constantly play back, at parties or something, or when you’re just at home wanting to listen to, you know, Beyonce is great covers. Like, I was listening to her cover of, Sex on Fire. You know, the other day listening to her do a lioness like that. That is fun to watch a live rendition of it for the album. For me, I’ve been skipping it.


Louis Virtel It’s also a weird second track, you know, after the major quality of American Requiem going into what I would call basically a conventional cover of Blackbird. Like, it actually, to me, sounds like the Sarah McLaughlin cover from I Am Sam a little bit.


Kendra James And I think we do know. We don’t know, but we can certainly suspect that that’s one of the ones that was added quite late. Yeah. Because that. So Tanner Adele is one of the, vocalists on that album. She’s a black country girl. She had a song called, Buckle Bunny, a single.


Ira Madison III Amazing song. She references Beyoncé on it.


Kendra James She’s been calling herself the Beyoncé of country for a minute now, and I like, I’ll say I like her as a person. I think she’s really fun. I like watching her TikToks. I love watching her like I was just watching a few clips of her performing in London. She’s really fun interacting with the crowd, explaining, like American references, buckle Bunny did not do it for me. I think Buckle Bunny needed a few more crosses with, with a producer. I just I don’t like the way I don’t like the way it sounds. I like the idea of it. I just think it needed something else. But I really like her, and I’m really glad that she’s getting this exposure right now, because I think she is going to be a very important part of country.


Louis Virtel Another voice is on this particular cover. Sound great by the way. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Well, you need to take one of Cody Rigby’s Peloton classes because it sounds great. And I also want to say about the tattoo I love it all. My friend Brendan, holder was reminding us at our group chat that we were fully clowning Tanner Adele in February, because she was tweeting out, I really want, a Beyoncé feature. I want to be on a Beyoncé track. And people were responding to her, like, maybe I need to work on that craft, baby. And it was funny, like, people were making fun of her. And then she was vindicated when she ended up on Cowboy Carter. But from the tweets and from how she was referencing still wanting to get on a Beyoncé track, I just know that NDA was strong. So that tells me that she was added to the song recently. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Yeah, that’s almost certainly the case.


Kendra James I’m never going to clown a woman for, for tweeting what she wants. That’s how I ended up at Shonda land. I DM’d that woman.


Louis Virtel That said, I am uncomfortable with the idea that Beyonce or someone near her is reading Twitter. Just stay away. Don’t. It’s garbage.


Ira Madison III Oh, she is so active. She knows everything that’s going on when she gets that. But last year, when she had that TikTok of her and Jay-Z and was using that viral sound like I’m on my way to see my husband, it’s like she’s she sees everything. I want to see her burner, and I want to know who she follows.


Kendra James Yeah. And if she’s not seeing it, mama Tina is certainly sending those links a lot, right? Because she sees everything you need.


Ira Madison III Mama Tina on terminally online. Okay? Because she does not turn off her phone.


Kendra James IRA, I will be passing that along.


Louis Virtel I’m still not over Tina saying, that she’s had some of these tracks on her phone for years or something. I was like, don’t let us peek behind the curtain. We’re like, there’s a curated show going on, Tina. The house of Dereon has no window.


Kendra James You can’t tell her anything.


Ira Madison III Yeah. So after this, we have 16 Carriages. How do we feel about 16 Carriages in the context of the album?


Louis Virtel In the context of the album? Exciting. It has that outlaw quality that I think permeates the album. I do tend to skip the song.


Ira Madison III Same.


Kendra James It’s been with us for a minute. Yeah. I, I haven’t been skipping it because I love the way it goes into Protector, and I feel like that song for me is kind of the start of a really interesting storytelling run that, that I like. I, I tend to see 16 Carriages. Does feel like it is a lot about Beyonce’s past, but because Protector to me seems like it’s more from her mother tinas perspective. I’m sort of starting to see 16 carriages as a little bit like that as well, because with the album probably very like having originally been called Beyince, I think this was a tribute to her mother in the way that Renaissance was a tribute to Uncle Johnny. And so with that in mind, I have started to see a lot of the songs is more from that perspective. Not verbatim. I’m not saying this is life. If you read the artist statement that Beyonce released, she does fully acknowledge that this is a lot of this is an exaggerated character. I wish people would stop saying that. All these songs are about Jay-Z. This is she does not always have to write just from what she knows. But, because of that and because of that perspective, I 16 Carriages has taken on a little bit of a new meaning for me. And so I do listen to it because I like the flow.


Louis Virtel I just want to say in general that I find people obsessive about who a female artist is writing about, because I feel like it’s it’s a way to recontextualize a song, to be a to just talk about men again, you know? And it’s like, like just to stay in a conversation about this, like it’s it’s the obsession with who You’re so Vain is about, or You Ought to know is about. It’s like you’re not talking about what she has written. You’re like mythologizing the fact that she is heard by a man. That’s it.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, even in the Ariana Grande context, right? There are all those memes about how the boys mind is about Ethan Slater, and it’s she talks in in her Zane Lowe interview about how she just wanted to write a bad girl anthem because her fans love that. And also, she’s stolen many women. So.


Louis Virtel There are plenty of candidates.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I choose to believe it’s about Big Sean.


Louis Virtel Oh, okay.


Ira Madison III Okay. Well, she stole him from Santana.


Kendra James Who, I should say, it got lost in the shuffle. That Tiny desk concert. Excellent.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James Excellent.


Ira Madison III But you know what? That’s a big ass desk. Have you thought about that?


Louis Virtel Right, right. I think about my desk. And it’s tinier than that desk, which makes me feel so inadequate.


Ira Madison III And there are so many people in there. How do you get invited to a Tiny Desk concert? By the way.


Kendra James I don’t know, but I think this album should be one.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James I really I have never in my life thought that that woman should march herself to DC to do anything like that. This album would be perfect.


Louis Virtel That’s how they should really do it up, like a saloon. And by the way, I did come up with the pun, Saloon Knowles this weekend. Does that speak to anybody?


Ira Madison III Hahahahahahahaha I yeah, okay. I’m moving along the fuck out of here. Honestly, I was going to say with. The getting ahead of myself. To at three. You said that reticence is it should be celebrated. This feels like a tribute to her mom. If it’s going to be rock music, I definitely feel like, Act three has to be a tribute to Solange, the sister sister album. Because I feel like all of her rock and indie influences have come from Solange.


Louis Virtel By the way, a a the Carters like album where it’s just a Beyoncé Solange duets album. I mean, that would be also fabulous, right?


Kendra James I’ll take it.


Ira Madison III That would be sexy as hell. Yeah. Okay. Protector. Also a skit for honestly, my amended version of this album. It goes from American Requiem, into My Rose, and I love the I love the sound on My Rose. I love how she changes her tone on it. And because I love My Rose going straight into Smoke Hour, with Willie Nelson. And I am a little bit disappointed that Willie Nelson is only on the album in a speaking role as the sort of person on the radio. But I do understand it, and I love the beginning of Smoke Hour where the stations are changing and you’re hearing, you know, some, Rosetta Tharpe, you’re hearing, some Chuck Berry. It’s it’s definitely a fun, song. And it adds to the vibe of the album feeling like it’s sort of, you know, you’re listening to a jukebox, like you’re you’re driving around like you’re sprawling through the Old West.


Kendra James Okay, first of all, I need you to give Protector another chance. Maybe one of my favorite vocals she’s ever done. I listen to that song and cry, I, I, I find that to just be so beautiful. In terms of the jukebox feeling like, I definitely agree. For me, one of my dreams has been to do what’s billed as the largest yard sale in the country. It starts in Detroit, and then it goes like all the way down some highway into the south. And for me, listening to this album is like driving that road and sort of just like having a car where the Bluetooth and the CD player are broken and you are just forced to listen to the radio and you’re listening to country stations, and the music is changing based on the location that you’re in. Maybe like at the top of Levi’s jeans, I think you hear a, you hear like a cassette being inserted. And so like, maybe that’s just a cassette tape that you’ve picked up at, like a local gas station or something where you pulled over. And I think that’s what’s so beautiful about it. It is like we said, it’s not quite country. It feels Americana, outlaw ish, and it’s just taking you on this journey through what American country music can be. And that’s that’s just like what I’ve taken away from it.


Louis Virtel And by the way, you just mentioned that Chuck Berry and Rosetta Tharpe, Abdul, I mean, like, name one other artist of any genre who would slam those both into, like, a song. I mean, it’s just I mean, it’s a remarkable achievement. And I’d just like to put both those people else is like Rosetta Tharpe still a name people don’t know. Like it’s again, she’s doing the didactic thing and for the most part, doing it extremely organically. It’s just extremely impressive. Yeah.


Ira Madison III I want to compare it a bit to High Fidelity in a way, just in the sense of Beyoncé lately has felt like the really cool chick in the record store who’s, you know, putting you on some game whenever you come in, like you’re going in because, you know, like it’s like me, like I used to go in and pick up a vinyl or something and be like, I really like this. And, there was a person in the record store was like, well, have you listen to Andy, their brother, you know, so like, that is like how I got into Andy Gibb, who I love more than the BGS.


Louis Virtel I don’t know about that. Thank you though.


Ira Madison III You don’t like Andy Gibb?


Louis Virtel I love Andy Gibb, but then the beaches are the beaches.


Ira Madison III I think I like Andy Gibb more than the beaches because I am obsessed with Andy Gibb’s story. It’s a very tragic, quite sort of personal story. And I think that, like the story of him attached to me more than and his lore. Okay, I’m obsessed with his lore.


Louis Virtel Okay. Very good. Yes. And I’ll make a fine biopic, which I think just got a different director or something once again.


Ira Madison III Yes. But then we get into Texas Hold’em, which also sounds so much better to me in the context.


Louis Virtel Definitely. Definitely, yes. Especially with the radio intro that we get from Willie Nelson, which, by the way, is a, something that I’ve heard on albums before. There’s a Carpenters album where they do a quick hit of all these old songs from the 50s, and, it’s like that. I love that feeling, too, just because how often are people even listening to the radio anymore? So just to remind people that it even exists is very nice. And also, you remember I did this map this weekend where now Beyonce and Dolly Parton both have connections to Willie Nelson, which means he’s probably the auburn haired muse of Jolene. That is probably what it is here.


Ira Madison III He fucking Jay-Z? Yeah.


Louis Virtel Everybody needs a redheaded stranger. That’s all I know.


Ira Madison III Beyoncé arriving home, sniffing the air. Is that marajuana?


Louis Virtel It’s not my strand.


Ira Madison III Willie back. Hey, there Keep It listeners when we’re back, more about Cowboy Carter.




Ira Madison III I think that after Texas Hold Them Now is when we get into the  album that I want to listen to. Okay. That is when the album gets cunt.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III Okay. And that is Bodyguard. Bodyguard.


Louis Virtel I agree. It’s my favorite.


Ira Madison III It’s a fucking song.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yes. It feels very tapestry. It feels very folk music. Like it, Fleetwood Mac?


Louis Virtel Yeah. It feels like Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac to me. Yeah.


Ira Madison III It is a classic pop vocal.


Kendra James Yeah. We didn’t get album full album credits until about five minutes before we started recording. But when I tell you, I knew Raphael Saadiq was all over that fucking track. I could that I don’t know if you’re not familiar with Raphael Saadiq. He’s been a fixture in the music industry, and he produced Cuff It off of Renaissance as well. He has two albums. One of them is called Stone Rolling that he did solo. This sounds like it could be all over Stone Rolling. And so if you like this song, you need to go listen to that whole album plus the one that he did before. He is genuinely like one of our just musical treasures that everyone should be incredibly familiar with. Also, go listen to his group from the 90s, Lucy Pearl.


Louis Virtel I also want to say this song sounds to me a little bit like, you know, the Jackson Browne song Somebodys Baby. She must be somebody’s baby. It sounds a little bit like that, too, but like that pan 70s, pop rock vibe.


Kendra James Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I also want to say, if you don’t know Raphael Saadiq, listen to Tasty by Collins. He is all over that album. Oh, yeah. Mary J. Blige. He’s fantastic. Also, another person who worked on this song was Ryan Beatty, who I adore. He worked on three songs of this album. A, it’s a gay singer, songwriter.


Louis Virtel Not one of Warren and Annette’s kids, that’s Ella Beatty who I saw in the play, Appropriate, this weekend. I’m sorry. I’m getting them all confused.


Ira Madison III I can tell the Bodyguard had little sweetness to it. Okay. Let’s just say that. And he also worked on, two. Has to have it. He. It’s the the songs that feel a little, little tender. A little, you know. Sexy. I feel like those are definitely things that feel very Ryan Beatty. So if you like these songs, you will also probably like his music.


Kendra James Julius is going to get no rest at these concerts. No rest. The girls are going to be all over him.


Ira Madison III Okay.


Louis Virtel And now, of course, comes the introduction of Dolly Parton, who, of course comes right on. I saw somebody on Twitter say it sounds like Jay-Z literally bought her a cameo from Dolly Parton. But she is never going to, like, do anything spoken word without any kind of Bruce Vilanch style quipping going on. And that’s what you get her saying. Like, oh, you had a problem with a girl with hair? Well, I had a problem with the girl with hair too. Isn’t that something? Okay, here comes a song like wow, Dolly is just really on brand the same she has been since, whatever, 9 to 5 before.


Ira Madison III Hey, miss Honey Bee, it’s Dolly P, you know that hussy with the good hair? You sing a foul here, I say hussy sent me to the moon.


Louis Virtel Which is Dionne Warwick culture, as you know.


Kendra James Yes, some of your, some of your better accent work there.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Oh my God, thank you ladies, I’ve been working.


Louis Virtel And most of the price. Yes, sir.


Ira Madison III I will say though, Jolene. It’s not a hit for me.


Louis Virtel I would call it a creative writing exercise. Yeah. Maybe I should have stayed in the notebook.


Kendra James I, I think much like Blackbird, they’re both they are both great songs because they are great vocals. She has produced the hell out of them. I think just in the context of this album, both songs are a lot less exciting because we have all of this new music to absorb, and then we’re just getting these two songs that we are very familiar with. Yes. And I’ll she did more with Jolene than she did with Blackbird to like, make it her own, but were they not on the album, I wouldn’t be quite sad.


Louis Virtel Also, sometimes when, like an artist is covering someone, they’re attempting to put put a twist on the song or, bring out qualities that maybe the original version doesn’t. I think the problem here is what she is doing, adding like this kind of devastation and, kind of bubbling under her. It already is in the song. I feel like, you know, I have a problem with the. I’m going to bring them up again. Carpenters. There’s a carpenters tribute album called if I Were a Carpenter, where it’s like grittier version, Sonic Youth famous covers on that album. It’s like these songs were already dark. You didn’t have to add a rock vocal to make it dark, you know what I mean? So that’s sort of my bone to pick with this.


Kendra James Now, what I will say is that it does. Again, the storytelling flow flows into Daughter perfectly.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James I can’t be mad about that because then you get to Daughter and the perspective completely flips.


Ira Madison III True. But I will say that Bodyguard into Daughter also feels the same. You know I’ll be your Bodyguard. I also really like how that song, going back to Bodyguard, flips the Protector role from a woman protecting a man. And then you get into daughter and she is. This Is the Daughter is the sequel to Daddy’s Lessons. Like my daddy said, shoot. And when you get to Daughter, she’s covered in blood. Yeah. Oh, she’s she’s she is. She is ditching the weapon and she is running from the police. I love Daughter. Daughter almost feels like it is the sequel to the Telephone video.


Louis Virtel Yes. Yes, yes. And I’m looking forward to, we haven’t gotten to the song yet, but II Most Wanted. I hope we get a Miley and Beyonce like Thelma and Louise are going on. That would be nice.


Kendra James Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Lastly, I just want to say about Joe Ltd, I think that what really works for me is that it feels like a blaxploitation version of Jolene, as Doreen certainly was called it. In her excellent review. The New Yorker, yesterday. But I think that if we are getting a blaxploitation version of Jolene, I think I needed it to go further. To be honest, it’s in some respects too faithful to the original. Like it really, I love the acrylic sound. You know, I love the harmonica, which we didn’t know Stevie Wonder’s playing. Sounds great. I like the sort of distorted voice in the beginning that’s going like Jo Jo Jo Jo Lee. Like, I like that part. But then the rest of it is just Jolene, like, give us the shaft theme or something up in there, you know, like, give us, give us something from truck Turner. You know where she is. I love that movie. Nichelle Nichols, give us something like give us pimp, give us Superfly, give us something else that feels like it is really just sort of going over the top. What she does with Spaghetti.


Kendra James A song that starts off with a time stamp.


Louis Virtel Right?


Kendra James Just like referencing it. Referencing Thanos, person I have not thought about in 9.5 years at this point.


Louis Virtel Only person snapping here is me.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Yes. Yeah, the status reference still hits me every time I listen to it, because it feels so beyond, say, rarely makes a reference that feels like I’m listening. I’m watching the pop culture that the kids are watching. Yes. You know, and this song, you know, starts out with Linda Martell.


Louis Virtel Who we should say is the first black woman to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, who was featured on this album. And, has a little ditty to say about genres before we jump into another country song.


Ira Madison III She is still with us, by the way. Yeah. She is still alive.


Louis Virtel 82 years old.


Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah. And so, she starts talking about how genre is sort of, constricting and how people get trapped into genres, and it doesn’t help them really expand as an artist or show you everything that they’re capable of. And then we get straight into a sort of, country hip hop, anthem, which has a great verse from Beyoncé on it. It has a less memorable verse from a man named Shaboozey.


Louis Virtel You said that Damningly okay.


Ira Madison III I turn it off after Beyonce’s verse.


Kendra James I’m happy for this man. He is a Nigerian American, sort of like alt country musician out of Virginia. I’m happy for him. I’m glad he’s getting his shine.


Ira Madison III He had two songs on this out.


Kendra James Yeah, and guess what? That’s the second one. That’s a bop.


Ira Madison III The second one is a bop. Sweet Honey Bucket. Yes. This one that the. I really feel like Spaghetti sort of flopped for me after Beyonce’s verse. And then I’m sort of like, what are we doing with this song here? Before we get into Alligator Tears, were you were claiming that Protector is one of her best vocals? I’m sorry, honey, it’s Alligator Tears. Alligator Tears is the all up in your mind?


Kendra James I love this song.


Louis Virtel This is probably my second favorite song on the album. Yeah, I think also, to me it actually reminds me again of Fleetwood Mac. Like the guitar remind me of the chain, the suspenseful sort of drama of that song. And I will say, I think the thing I like most about that song, that feeling that that tension is almost something I could have stood to hear more of on the album, like a little bit more dangerous sounding, even though we are getting a lot of violence, as you said.


Ira Madison III I definitely felt that Louis was going to like the song. I feel like somebody.


Louis Virtel Else also said I knew Bodyguard was going to be your favorite, as if I was a dick for liking it.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Well there I was feeling that you like Bodyguard alligator tears too, because I just felt like whenever we talk about music on this show, you know, you and I obviously have very different major touchstones on, like, what we like to listen to, but I feel like the touchstones that we agree on, you know, very much female pop vocals of like the 70s and 80s, you know, very Fleetwood Mac heavy, you know, very funk heavy. I feel like Bodyguard and Alligator Tears are very positioned in like our Venn diagram of songs that we like. And certainly the vocals on those two songs are so beautiful. I, I think my friend referred to Alligator Tears as sort of the all up in your mind of this album, in that it’s sort of going to be very underrated, and you’re only going to hear a few people talking about how much they love this song. But. I can’t wait till she performs that one.


Kendra James It’s going to be beautiful. I mean, this will the Alligator Tears. It’s a song that will be performed at every mean. Every wedding that I go to. That will be when everyone starts bringing out their violins. Because I went to Oberlin. So I went to a conservatory. All. So everyone brings violins to weddings, and I tell you, that’s going to be one that people are jamming out to.


Ira Madison III I feel like we’re going to get so many covers of this song.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel What are your feelings on Just for Fun?


Ira Madison III I love it. I love that song. Another Ryan Beatty track, just for fun, is. It’s Just Beautiful. This is You’re Right it right here. We were sort of in the. Beautiful, sweet part of the album. It is. It starts out very, didactic. Then it gets violent and then it gets a bit emotional before we start pussy poppin as, Beyoncé is one to do. Yes. The the the latter half of the album, once we get to Linda Martell show is sort of feels like very much in line with Renaissance.


Kendra James Yeah, right. Which makes sense, as Renaissance was supposed to follow right into this, because I do think she was. I think originally we were aiming for maybe like a chronological situation where we’re starting in that early Americana, going into dance hall and dance music, and then ending felt like we could end with like 70s, 80s rock. It was is my thought.


Ira Madison III I yeah.


Louis Virtel I also want to say that I this is the only regard in which I almost wish I had heard this album before Renaissance, because I feel like Renaissance created this universe of aliens and, space travel, and we’re bouncing between all these planets all the time, and it’s a constant ride. Whereas this I feel like you are bouncing around, but it’s more like you’re going between different patches on a quilt. And I just feel like the, the, momentum is a little bit lesser on this. Whereas Renaissance was confidently going in all directions at all times, whereas I feel like there’s a few too many detours.


Ira Madison III Well, you know, I feel like, the whole road trip element of this album, you know, it feels like you’re on Earth first, and then you get into space.


Kendra James Because you end up in Area 51.


Ira Madison III Rrennassaince. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Yeah, yeah. Took a wrong turn. Yeah. No, I.


Kendra James Think that’s what the visuals are going to be.


Ira Madison III The visuals of just the, you know, long road trip remind me of, remind me of that canceled television version of Keep It that we had once. We don’t have to bring it up, but it’s supposed to be a road trip.


Louis Virtel It’s done. Been brought up, but. Yeah. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Right. Yeah. So then we have II Most Wanted. Miley Cyrus is on it. The Thelma and Louise of it all. Obviously, the O brother, where art thou? Elements of it. This is the song that people were predicting would be a Gaga feature. When we just first saw the title of it, but I think it really works as a Miley song. Their voices sound great together, and I did not expect that I didn’t either.


Kendra James And I think that is probably just a credit to whoever was engineering that I, I salute them.


Louis Virtel And also, very memorable hook. I just think it’s a song you’re immediately singing again once you hear it even one time.


Kendra James Yeah. My first reaction was, Harold, they’re lesbians.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Hahaha.


Louis Virtel Your lips to God’s ears. But love, that.


Ira Madison III Is very sapphic. So, I’ve her and Miley in that sort of video would be almost sort of like her Prisoner video with Dua Lipa, which is of one of Miley’s sexiest videos.


Louis Virtel Luckily, she follows this up with something the opposite of Sapphic, which is Post Malone. On Levi’s jeans, a song I do really like.


Ira Madison III I was going to say watch your mouth talking about Austin Post. That’s my man.


Kendra James I love about her featuring Miley and Post Malone back to back, that these are two people who have taken from black culture, at one point in their careers very visibly, and at the time, I think were rightfully ridiculed for it. And now she has taken them back in this reclamation of this genre. She has taken them back and been like, okay, now I’m going to use you, and I’m going to get what I need out of you to, to refocus this genre where it should have been to begin with. And I think that that is very poetic.


Ira Madison III Exactly. She’s the gander. Yeah. You know, like, what was good for the geese? I really I love how you articulated that, because I feel like a lot of people were questioning why she was working with Miley and Post Malone because of their sort of, history involving black music. But I think it makes perfect sense. And the thesis of the album and the sort of reclamation. Yeah moment. And I do want to address the fact that a lot of people are concerned about the reclamation element of the album. It’s like, why are you using sort of White Rage to fuel your album? And I think that she is absolutely, you know, like, not everyone needs to be in this Toni Morrison space. I’m writing my black art and I’m ignoring everything that happens, involving white people in my life because I’m sorry. It is a big moment. The fact that your CMA performance was scrubbed from the internet, you know, if anything. I feel like my main criticism with this album is that, and Doreen also pointed this out in her review. It’s going to feel dated in its thesis in the sense that she references, you know, the CMAs or something like, I don’t need those awards, etc. like, I don’t need the Grammys. Everything. And it’s Jay-Z has rapped about, like, we don’t need the Grammys, before of the Carters. And yet they showed up to the Grammys again just to have their faces played in again. They’ve reference we don’t need the Super Bowl. And now Jay-Z is booking acts for the Super Bowl halftime show. It is this weird thing of saying, we don’t need this. And having all of the, you know, sort of like attitude that comes with that only a year or two later to be in the thick of it.


Kendra James But I think that’s a fair criticism. I was thinking a lot this weekend about just because I, I love pettiness, I love, that energy that earth science do give out being a Capricorn myself. And it is for me. It’s very funny now that Jay-Z showed up to the Grammys this year and said what he said, knowing that that woman was sitting on this album. It, it like, it is a very funny. And whether she wins album of the year or not, I am going to look back at that moment and chuckle.


Louis Virtel My favorite album of all time is Harrys House, so I don’t want to contribute to this. I’m kidding.


Ira Madison III Haha.


Louis Virtel And Adele’s 25. The only two I bump


Ira Madison III I mean Linda Martell show she I was it up with say those petty bitches have nothing on me because I’m a clever girl. What some people think is a reference to clever girl from Jurassic Park.


Louis Virtel I would say not.


Kendra James I saw that.


Ira Madison III I don’t. I would say that I saw I saw it on and yo.


Kendra James I’m sorry, we had vocalists on this album, vocalists to the people who were thinking that she had Taylor Swift singing background on a Raphael Saadiq track.


Ira Madison III What insanity. Insanity.


Kendra James Insulting to all involved.


Louis Virtel Also, you would hear Taylor Swift, I think. I mean, I know that. Anyway, it’s a weird story.


Kendra James The girls were editing to Out of Control.


Ira Madison III I would say that honestly, even in the thesis of Beyoncé and Taylor in their friendship. Two, you’re not going to see Taylor Swift popping up on a Beyoncé album because Taylor’s fans are insane and rabid, and they, first of all, even created a Bodyguard Wikipedia page that immediately vanished once they discovered that it was a Taylor on the song. I don’t think Beyonce, in all that she’s doing, wouldn’t want to attribute the success of her album to a Taylor feature, at all. Meanwhile, Taylor is already a short at her dominance of white culture and the mainstream anyway, so Beyoncé appearing on a song of hers would be a gift for her. She’d be excited for it. You know, it wouldn’t have the same sort of cultural effect, and it wouldn’t mean the same thing anyway. Flamenco. It’s a skip.


Louis Virtel Yeah I agree. Yeah YaYa, it is not.


Ira Madison III Oh yeah. For me. YaYa and Bodyguard are constantly tied for the best for me. Yeah I got for me was the. After having seen Renaissance and having and watching old videos of her during the beat era, where she was really just sort of like cutting up on stage with the Sugar Mamas, her all female band at the time. Yeah, yeah. Even on first listen was the song where I was imagining her on stage performing this. The song’s about like five minutes. Now I’m imagining when we get the live version of y’all. Y’all. It is a sort of 12 minute sprawling performance, sort of akin to, what she was doing with, get me Bodied at, homecoming. I like, I just see, like, a lot of call and response to the audience. The band playing on for long, her just dancing up a storm on stage. This song is a masterpiece.


Kendra James When she. When they go from Yaya into Work It Out. I’m going to lose my goddamn mind.


Louis Virtel Literally. Even like there’s something about the the song Yaya where I’m thinking about how she looks in the Work It Out video. Okay. You know, it’s a it is.


Kendra James Yaya is 100% work it out like older cool cousin coming back from college.


Louis Virtel And by the way again, the Beach Boys moment in it where she references good vibration, almost puzzling, almost puzzling.


Speaker 4 No, not puzzling to me because again, not on the CD, not on the vinyl. And I do wonder if Ya Ya was supposed to be maybe the first or second track on act three, the Rock albulm?


Louis Virtel Yes. Right, right right again. Yeah. There’s so many rock influences here. You wonder what ends up getting subsumed into this album from the potential third?


Ira Madison III Yeah, absolutely. The Beach Boys just hit me because that is like that is a that’s another Venn diagram of my shit, the Beach Boys, Beyonce and then Nancy Sinatra. Come on.


Louis Virtel Now that I expect. Yeah a little Nancy Sinatra on this. Yeah. Beach boys, I just want to say my favorite song of theirs. I just wasn’t made for these times. I’ve Pet Sounds A-plus anyway. All right, speed round. Moving through the rest of the album. Love two hands to have in Love. Tyrant. I wish Desert Eagle were a longer full song, because to me, that has another thing we both love, which is the sound of Rufus and Chaka Khan on it, that like slap bass sound and it’s like we could have used, I think, a moment of thick funk that was sustained on this album if we’re going to be traveling through the 1970s anyway.


Kendra James Yeah, I will say my one thought about tyrant the violin has not hit that hard since Mary Ben-Ari. It was still on tracks I, I thought I was listening to John Legend’s first album. I was like, back in like again, not to invoke him, but like first Kanye stuff.


Louis Virtel Oh, right.


Kendra James That violin it beautiful.


Ira Madison III The Desert Eagle for me is just as soon as the beat drops on that song, I want it more of it. And it was so sad that it feels like an interlude. I appreciate Riverdance, I enjoy it, I love it, yeah. It’s fine. Yeah, it’s it’s fine. Yeah. I like the beat, but II Hands To Heaven, Tyrant. Dolly Parton appearing again on Tyrant. Doing her little ditty.


Kendra James Yeah.


Ira Madison III And then Beyonce just getting, black as hell. A little hood on the rest of the song is so funny to me, and Sweet Honey Buckin is another one that just feels like. I mean, it’s giving Pure Honey from the last.


Louis Virtel Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally.


Ira Madison III It’s it’s just giving you so much. I really feel like the back half of this album is so vibrant. And if Renaissance had come after it, would it go straight intoI’m That Girl.


Kendra James Yeah.


Louis Virtel Yes. Yeah, yeah.


Also, Church Girl could have been on this album.


Louis Virtel Oh my god, of course.


Kendra James And so that’s the one thing that this album is like, maybe missing is more gospel influence. That’s like and that’s the only, that’s the one little thing that could have been thrown in there.


Louis Virtel Yeah. As if she’s going to hit all these constellations of musical genres like this. Like, why not just include it? But you’re right. But again, these all are technically part of one act, these three albums. So maybe she did, as part of this one project do that.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I would say letter grade for this. Yeah. For me, if Renaissance for me is an A. I would put this album at a B-plus.


Louis Virtel Exactly what I would say.


Kendra James I for me, this is this is easily. This is an A, A minus for me, it as a as a woman who got her start in pop culture writing about. How I didn’t understand why the show’s supernatural in all of its creation of Americana and like its reference to folklore and the West, why that show eliminated black people and like, why there was no touching on black and brown Americana folklore. Why we weren’t involved in that like this validates so many of my interests. And I just like, I feel like this album was written for me, for the girl who wears a gun trigger around her neck, for the girl who has a Jesse James memorabilia collection for the horse girls like this. This is my Beyonce album. This is it.


Ira Madison III Exactly. And I feel like this album is going to grow with me over time, but it really feels like, yeah, the Beach Boys are at all the funk of it, all the Rufus Chaka. It just feels like it touches on, like I said earlier, that that kid who would go to the record store, who would be sifting through the vinyls, would pick something out based on the cover or the recommendation of the person who works there. This is her in her high fidelity record store. Cool check mode. And she’s just obviously she did this for black people in a sense. And but I think that, you know, talking about the reclamation of stuff is just sort of another way to box it in. And I feel like this album goes to great lengths to tell you not to box her in. And I feel like this is just for this, a bitch who loves music. Okay? And this album is for people who love music and love the weirdness of America and pop culture and this country and all the shit that it represents.


Louis Virtel It has an amazing sense of time and place, and within that, it’s a sense of where we’ve been and where we’re gonna go and where I’ve been in terms of location and where I’m gonna go. So I just feel like it’s like a it’s a crossroads, if you will. We’re at the Delta again. Look at me. I’m a musicology professor.


Ira Madison III Right.


Louis Virtel Now. I work at Oberlin.


Ira Madison III All right. When we are back, Justice Smith.


Speaker 5 <AD>


Louis Virtel Our guest today is always one of the best parts of anything he’s in. You know him from his affable charm in the Jurassic World movies. Detective Pikachu. Dungeons and Dragons generation and his new movie, The American Society of Magical Negroes. You can see him next in A24’s upcoming and apparently frigging amazing, I Saw The TV Glow, out May 23rd. We are delighted to welcome to Keep It the dynamic and captivating, Justice Smith. And you’re in studio.


Justice Smith Yes. I’m here. I don’t like speaking over a screen. Not to call me mean.


Ira Madison III I’m offending you now. I was I was literally in LA last week in studio with Louis, a first in years.


Justice Smith I should have come in then. Yeah.


Ira Madison III I want to say this movie that you’re in the American Society of Magical Negroes. What I love about you is you’ve always had such this great sort of candor about you as an actor, which I feel like a lot of people don’t have or try and shy away from. And I feel like you, even on your Instagram, you have embraced the fact that people have a lot of thoughts about this movie. They had a lot of thoughts from the trailer, and now they’ve had a lot of thoughts. Now that it is out, how do you, I guess, deal with the conversation surrounding a movie like this? And did you anticipate that it was going to be this hot a topic while you were making it?


Justice Smith Not as hot as as it is. I knew that there was going to be. I knew it was controversial to an extent. I didn’t know that the the initial comments, like the, the like base concept, was going to be so hard for people to, like, grasp like this, like, like, first off, explaining what a magical Negro was, explaining that trope to everybody was like a chore within itself. And then kind of introducing this metaphor for, like, the ways black people have to navigate white society. Again, I thought we all had an understanding like, yeah, code switching is real. Like, this is just kind of like a funny metaphor for that. But that really, like, shook people up. And then on top of that, there’s like the interracial love story. There’s like my casting, which I those I was like more prepared for in terms of controversy. But I will say I’ve been on like a really long spiritual journey with this movie because it was one that I had. So like such a big hand in, like I loved so much and I felt like was my story. And like, you know, I had always wanted to do a movie about race because I’m black and race is a big part of my life. And but like a lot of the scripts that would be sent, I’m like, okay, well, this isn’t my specific experience, so I can’t I don’t feel like I can lend myself. But with the American society, I was like, I get this. I grew up in a very white environment, like I compromised myself in so many different ways. I grew up in Orange County, California. Oh, Vance.


Ira Madison III Oh, yeah. Yeah, sure. Got a role. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have driven through it. I have driven through. Yeah. So it’s not the OC.


Louis Virtel No.


Justice Smith No no no no not at all. So I got that I was like, I feel like I could lend myself to this character. And then having such a strong reaction from Twitter was like, okay, that’s fine. From like Fox News or Breitbart. I was like, if anything, that’s great press. Like, I love that. But then like Black Twitter like, that really kind of bums me out cause I was like, damn. Like you’d never want to upset the people that you love. And, and then but I was like, okay, but when the movie comes out and they see it, they’re going to love it even more. But then, like, critics bashed it like no one went to go see it. I mean, like the people who did loved it. But a lot of that Twitter backlash kind of fucked us. Can I swear.


Louis Virtel You sure can.


Justice Smith Fucked us in the fucking ass.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Justice Smith And, and I really had like, like, like I was at a fork in the road where I was like, how can I respond to this? I want to respond to it with humor. You know, even though there was, like, the initial pain. And also it taught me so much about like. Who I am, knowing what I’m fighting for and knowing who I am as an artist. So like when people were saying things online or whatever, just like. That’s okay. You guys can have your opinions. That’s completely fine and valid, and some of your opinions are valid. And. I don’t have to defend myself necessarily.


Ira Madison III If you said also that you’ve had an entire journey when it comes to doing press for movies in general, like liking the process of doing press or like finding a way to find joy and promoting things when conversations can end up, as you just said, all over the internet or strange or whatever. How have you made talking about movies something you enjoy doing?


Justice Smith I find that okay, so my metaphor that my analogy that I always use is, people who work with animals don’t like scooping up shit, but they scoop up shit so that they can continue to do what they love. And press for me is the scooping up of shit of acting. You hear that, IRA? Every time I say that in an interview, the person I’m speaking to is like, I don’t know how to take that. I don’t know how to do. But I actually, you know, that’s kind of how I got into, like, just being like, okay, let me suck it up and do this. But now I kind of like it because I like I like talking to people. I like meeting new people, and I try to have fun with it. I don’t know, I don’t really know how to answer that question because it’s not. It’s just something that I kind of worked on doing. Having fun. Yeah, I worked on having fun in prayer situations. And so it just started coming more naturally.


Louis Virtel You know, what I have to say, though, is like in a way, you feel to me like a rad critic, like in another life, you could be somebody who’s just like talking about movies as opposed to starring in them. Do you do ever have any ambitions to be that kind of commentator?


Justice Smith No.


Louis Virtel Really?


Justice Smith I personally feel like critics should have like some hand or some experience in, like, filmmaking or like, you know, the industry to like some extent because I feel like this, like objective, like I just love movies. And so I have a right to a voice. Right? And I feel like it’s just it creates a jaded individual when you don’t know how much effort goes into, like making a film, getting a film made. Not to say like we should get brownie points because we made a thing, but I just feel like it would provide a different perspective if I were to ever become, a reviewer, I think I would have more of.


Louis Virtel A little more restraint.


Justice Smith Yeah, yeah. Then like more credibility, I guess, because I know what it means to make a film.


Louis Virtel Can I tell you something that if somebody has never made a movie in his life, it is so much fun to opine about them and not know a fucking thing. I have to say.


Ira Madison III You know what goes into the process.


Louis Virtel I mean, like I’ve seen the camera before, etc. but yeah, I.


Justice Smith Also think, yeah, but you know, in that same vein, listen, I have a lot of contradicting opinions. In that same vein, I think that, like, good art doesn’t show. You don’t see the work like you shouldn’t see, you know, like the equations on the side of the paper. You should just like, see the answer, you know? So I feel like if audiences are watching your thing and it’s not connecting them, and then you are like, but put so much work with work in it, I think that’s bullshit. Again, it’s like you don’t get brownie points for effort.


Ira Madison III We’re so far removed, I guess, from, film. You know, even even if you make films, even if you make television, you are not actually there on set. So, like, there’s still sort of this removal from the process. But you’ve done theater, and you’ve done. And I would love to talk about that. You did this play The Mother with Isabelle Huppert. Icon. Yeah. But for me, as a person who has worked in theater, the brownie points thing, you, no matter how hard, you know, people are working like I can go see, I hated Moulin Rouge on Broadway, you know, and you go and see it, and you can see the sweat on these dancers. You know how hard they’re fucking working. But then you can also still leave it and say, I hate it. That and why was, you know, it made. And so there is always this disconnect between that. But how do you feel about. The theatrical process, I guess then, as opposed to the film process.


Justice Smith Pros and cons on on either side. It has like a very special place in my heart. Theater, because I grew up doing theater, like when I was studying acting, it was like to be in theater wasn’t necessarily like film acting. So I learned everything I know from. Theater and and there’s and it’s also the actor’s medium. You know, they say film is the director’s medium. TV is the writer’s medium. And, and but with theater, it’s like once that curtain goes up, I’m completely in control. Yeah. You know, I have my notes, I have my script. But like, the audience’s experience is completely shepherded by me. And that makes me feel the most autonomous as an actor because I, you know, I like. I put work into this thing, you know, into, like, this craft of being an actor. But I have like, I have good ideas, you know, like when it comes to my performances and, and when it comes to film and TV, you know, it’s really left in the hands of, like, like the director, like if the director has a strong vision and how they’re going to edit your performance or you know, where the like in television, where they want to like the writers want to take your character over the season so you have less control. And, I’m not like faulting the film and television experience cause I, I love it for its own reasons, you know, theater, you have to hammer out the same story every single night for months on end and film and TV, you can just like you just have to get it once and then it’s like in the can. But I mean, yeah, those are the kind of like the pros and pros and cons, but I love theater. I always wanted to do theater. And we were just talking about theater.


Louis Virtel Oh yes. Because we both saw appropriate starring, Sarah Paulson, who, by the way, is just fully Laurie Metcalf. Now, like you remember Sarah Paulson, that’s gone. It’s Laurie Metcalf and in Scream II.


Justice Smith Yeah. I totally yeah, I, I agree with that. She’s incredible that.


Louis Virtel She’s awesome in that play.


Justice Smith And I love that playwright too.


Ira Madison III Brandon Jacob Jenkins.


Justice Smith He’s incredible. I don’t know if you saw The Come-Uppence. Did you see that?


Louis Virtel Do you see that?


Ira Madison III I saw The Octoroon.


Justice Smith Yes. Oh, I didn’t see that. And I want to work with him so bad.


Ira Madison III And Octaroon.


Louis Virtel Yeah, but the awesome thing about that play is it’s sort of at the beginning, feels like a string of theatrical cliches. Like a God of carnage or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Where people are having arguments, where they say things like, and you’re making it all about yourself again, and then you realize it’s more of this secret zone of interest type movie where it’s about what they’re not discussing and something that’s happening alongside the play that is very interesting and recontextualizes these boring arguments they’re having. It’s a very, very good play.


Justice Smith Yes. It’s so good. It’s also like the first play. I mean, maybe there’s a I guess Zone of Interest is kind of in that same vein where it’s like it’s a play about race that only like features white people.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Justice Smith I thought it was like like it’s an art piece within itself because even watching the play like like with like a predominately white audience, like the things that the white people were laughing at and the things that, like me and my partner were laughing at were like completely different things, like the things that gagged us were like, oh shit, like, that’s terrible. And the way you were like, oh, we’re so kooky.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Justice Smith I’m like, I feel like this is a commentary in itself.


Louis Virtel Yes. Totally.


Justice Smith No. Like so it was just like beautiful all around.


Louis Virtel But we must set. We’ve now brought up Sarah Paulson. But to get back to Isabelle Huppert, finally, when she was here on this podcast, we were, like intimidated. Initially.


Justice Smith Wait, youhad her on?


Louis Virtel We sure did a couple of years ago.


Ira Madison III Yeah. This is a place for icons. Yeah, okay,  so, Welcome.


Louis Virtel We we were scared initially. And then it turns out if you know what you’re talking about she like loves you and then. But her vibe was you know she’s not method at all. She’s very instinctive and then seemingly just does the job when she’s on a movie set. What is it like working with her who maybe has done the most acting of any human being over the past 50 years?


Justice Smith Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. She is. She had this thing where we were doing press for mother. She talked about. She’s like, I don’t play characters, I play state.


Louis Virtel She said the same thing to us. Yes. Yeah.


Justice Smith My I stole that from her, because I was like, I so connect with that. It’s like, it’s not like a, like a mountain that I’m climbing to, like, create a character. It’s like it’s something that I’m mining from within myself. And like, she does that so effortlessly where she’s just like, she hops in and hops out. She also like, I speak French. And so she would always give me little notes in French. Like she’d be like, get out of my life. Like you’re standing like, just move a little bit to the side. So, like, the director wouldn’t know that she was like, directing me.


Louis Virtel Fuck yeah.


Justice Smith I also like, like, got so good at French, like speaking with her, but I really felt she’s just like. So I mean, she’s such an incredible artist and also like, really maternal. And I don’t know if that’s just because of the roles that we were playing because that was playing her son. But she has like this real like like she loves young actors, like she’s like there to support young actors and just and it’s just so bold and like the choices that she makes and it’s it’s like. Like when she plays a role like she does it. You’re like, is that like, I’ve never seen a human express emotion in that way, but, like, makes so much sense to me. Like you saw piano.


Louis Virtel oh my God, yes.


Justice Smith Like the one she’s at. I mean, that expression on her face, I was like, I would have never thought to like if I were stabbing myself. Like, that’s kind of what would come out of my body. But like her, it’s just like the way she feels is so unique. She’s like having her own human experience.


Louis Virtel No, she like the way she like her spectrum is like, she has this, like, Stony huerteur, and then suddenly the bizarre will occur. Yeah, they both feel organic to each other.


Justice Smith You know, you just. You worded better than I ever could. But she’s phenomenal. I love her dearly.


Ira Madison III You know, I want to ask a bit about you talked about seeing, the play with your partner and being shocked about it. I want to ask about sort of performance in general you talked about with American society about not wanting to upset the people you love, not upsetting like Black Twitter or something. Do you sometimes feel like even your own self when you’re not acting has to be a bit of a performing to, I guess, what your audience is? I’m asking this in particular because I feel like, you know, when you were dating, your partner at first there’s a lot of, just post online about you in general, about the fact that you had a black partner, about the fact that, you know, you were representing black love in general. Oh that’s right. Yes. There was a lot of threads about it.


Louis Virtel I wish I saw that.


Ira Madison III You didn’t see any of that. And there’s any. Oh, wow. There’s this whole thread, from writer Michael Street about both of you, about how, like, it was a shrine to your black love. There’s a article in Extra magazine about it. I don’t know, did you ever. Well, you didn’t see any of that. I was about to ask if you felt like that was something that you felt you needed to present to the world as a black, queer actor?


Justice Smith In that article, if I think it’s the right article. That one I did see where he talks about.


Ira Madison III Okay.


Justice Smith Like how much, like us being public meant to him. Like, because you had never seen, like, like public, like a black queer couple. That was like public in that way or. Yeah, or something, I don’t know. But that was beautiful. Yeah, I saw that one. It’s a difficult thing to navigate because, I mean, being a public figure to an extent is not really natural, you know, like, you’re you’re, like, exposed to the public in these, like, short bursts where you kind of have to, like, show your multitudes, like within, like, like these, like 32nd soundbites and then like the public metabolizes it and they make their opinions about who you are as a person based off of these, like short bursts of you, but they don’t see like the ins and outs of you daily. And so it’s kind of like this difficult thing where you’re like, I understand how important and how like important publicity is, especially to my career because like, like the more relatable I see, the more it helps me, like, literally helps me get jobs, you know, because it builds my profile, which makes me more marketable and more like lucrative to like, studios or whatever. So it’s like it’s kind of it’s like. It’s kind of like the scooping up shit of like, how do I, how do I really, like, find a way to present myself authentically in the public eye in these kind of, in these, like, limited moments, that like, like allow me to have some privacy and some integrity, but also allow people, like, in to my life, so that they can connect to my like, art even more, you know what I mean? Like, it’s like a it’s a really difficult thing to balance. I wouldn’t say that I have all the answers right now, but like, I just try to, like, live in the moment and try to, like, be as authentic as possible. And, I think the whole, like, inviting people into my relationship was like the base level of authenticity I could offer the public because, like. We can really get into, like the way that like, you know, the public digests queerness, you know, and or like when an actor or singer or a quote unquote celebrity like, comes out, it’s just like it becomes like such a brand. And I’m like, like queerness is like, at least in my life, it’s so normal. Like, it’s like that is like not how I brand the people in my life. It’s like, oh, yeah, they’re queer. And like, that’s like the main kind of like talking point about them. Maybe then that’s just because I’m surrounded by so many queer people in my personal life. But it’s just interesting that that becomes like such a, like a moniker for like, celebrities.


Louis Virtel I have that many queer people in my life, but I do when I say hi to them, address them as queer then. So.


Justice Smith I feel like it’s slowly changing as more people come out, you know, there’s like more roles for like queer actors, which is really cool. And like, queer actors are playing straight roles, which is really cool. And so it’s and also like, I feel like a lot of the reaction of like, oh, this person is out, like, this person is queer is like from queer community being like, oh, I feel safe now. Or like I’m like more interested in like this, this actor or this singer or whatever. Because, like, I see myself in them more. I relate to them more and that I like it’s like, you know, that is kind of like a cool connective tissue between audiences and, and public figures.


Louis Virtel I think the last stone to be unturned in this regard is when we get a Stanley Tucci biopic. It should be a gay actor, you know what I’m saying? Then we will have met. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Finally.


Justice Smith Absolutely.


Louis Virtel Now. Okay, before we let you go, I have to ask about.


Justice Smith That’s it?


Louis Virtel No, we’re not done yet. I have to ask about I Saw the TV Glow.


Justice Smith Okay.


Louis Virtel Because the reviews coming out of Sundance for this were so extreme. Yeah. My friend Richard Lawson, who was the most cynical man alive. I say this lovingly, who writes for Vanity Fair. It was his favorite of the whole festival. What is it like to get that kind of attention, and were you expecting it?


Justice Smith Yeah, that film is incredible. When I read that script, I was like, I have no idea what the fuck I just read, and I have to do this movie because it was just incredibly unique and singular. And and I don’t know if you saw, where I’ll going to the World’s Fair?


Louis Virtel Yes.


Justice Smith But like, Jane has this way of creating films that like get under your Skin where you’re like, I’m not this girl online doing all this fucked up shit, but like, I am, in a way, I am her, you know that. It is my, my, it’s I don’t know, like, it’s like a this weird. Like Jane creates feelings. Like, I just like, really fucking dark, creepy crawly feelings. And I think I saw that chibi Glow is like in that same vein of just, like, getting under people’s skin. And even if they don’t understand it logically, like what’s happening, they like feel it viscerally. There are some people who I talked to after Sundance who saw the movie where I was like, oh, did you like the part where this and this and this happened? And they’re like, oh, that’s what that meant? Like who were like telling me they loved it and like it was incredible. And so I’m like asking what they loved about it. And they’re just like it’s like it’s like a vibe, you know?


Louis Virtel And I can only hope for more Danielle Deadwyler in my life.


Justice Smith She’s phenomenal.


Louis Virtel She’s like an abnormal. She’s an abnormal talent. She’s an amazing actor.


Justice Smith I like I mean she’s obviously she’s she’s blowing up. But like I can’t wait for like her really to like, hit the stratosphere because she’s she’s incredible. And she’s also her personality is phenomenal. Like, she’s kind of like, just askew. Like. And like I love people like that because you talk to her and it’s just like she lives in her own world. And I think that’s why she’s such an incredible artist, just like Isabelle Huppert it’s like the way she like feels feelings is so unique and like, that’s why you’re, like, captivated by her. And she’s, like, always doing something different on screen.


Louis Virtel No, it’s like if I ever, like, were eye to eye with Mary-Louise Parker, I know I would say something off. You know what I mean? You want that like, a genius actor.


Justice Smith Very true. Yeah.


Ira Madison III You should have saw The Seagull. Okay. She was staring right at you. There was an adaptation of The Seagull. That was done starring her, hard enough. And some other people were pretty good.


Justice Smith I wanted to see that.


Ira Madison III It was great. It was a modern adaptation of it. But it was really, really good. And, thank you for being here. I mean, I really have to do I have to commend you. I love the shoveling set by Topher, and I feel like I get that from you, especially because you have been so likable in so many blockbuster movies that I really enjoy, though. But, I mean, for a young actor, you, when you think about the movies you’ve been in, you know, Jurassic World, Detective Pikachu, I mean, like you have done the brunt of, I am promoting a movie, I am at junkets. This is constantly my day. So I get it.


Justice Smith I feel like I like, subtly shaded both of you guys like throughout this thing.


Louis Virtel Imagine not subtly shading us.


Ira Madison III Oh yes, of course. Also, don’t worry about being humble here. I know you were born August 9th. We are live on our podcast. This is our first. Yours.


Louis Virtel Duh.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis Virtel Oh, you couldn’t tell immediately. You must not be like, yeah.


Justice Smith Wait. Okay. But then I feel extra bad. Like I really wasn’t trying to shade you. I lose that, I’m like, oh my God, press sharing. Shall we do? I said like, if you’ve never worked on a set like you can’t like have opinions about movies and TV and stuff like that, you have you guys worked on sets before?


Louis Virtel I’m a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live in the Academy Awards. Nothing else though.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I’m a TV writer and producer.


Justice Smith So that one isn’t shady at all. So that one, you know.


Louis Virtel Just people who are outside the room suck. Yes we are. Yeah, yeah.


Justice Smith Okay okay okay.


Louis Virtel I love you blushing, I saw the actor glow. Look at him. Yeah.


Justice Smith Okay, okay, okay. I didn’t shade you guys. Okay.


Ira Madison III Thank you for being here. I’m sorry. It’s not longer. I know, I was just getting on to it. Daniel Brooks told us the same thing. She was like, I got more shit to say.


Justice Smith Yeah, I have way more shit to say, but.


Ira Madison III So you got to come back next time for your next project.


Louis Virtel You’ll be co-hosting the episode next time, so have the whole time.


Justice Smith Love that.


Ira Madison III And we are back with our favorite segment of the episode. It is Keep It. Louis?


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III What you got to say? What’s on your mind?


Louis Virtel So much as you know. I’m burdened by these thoughts I carry. But I bring them to Keep It. Unfortunately, I saw TikTok again. And, you know, that means we’re already at a, an intellectual deficit. But somebody on TikTok, made the comment. Am I the only person who’s ever noticed? First of all. Stop right there. Because. No, stop pretending you’re the first person I know to stop. Am I the only person who’s ever noticed that SNL has never hired, like hot woman? Okay, well, I mean, first of all, what is the point of that TikTok? You want people in your face arguing that somebody is hot and because, by the way, that’s what people fucking did. So now there’s like a list of screenshots mean, like, can’t you see she’s hot or what? Laraine Newman, what a sexy woman. This is not helping. This situation, we’re not arguing for anything other than saying there’s validity to being dismissive over very talented people because they don’t look a certain way. I don’t know if it’s like, and I think this is like this. The person who posted this happens to be a woman of color. So it feels more like valid cultural criticism than what it is, which is a load of shit that nobody needs to interact with. But I just want to say, are people under the impression that, like, SNL is full of, like, extremely hot men or something? Like, what is the point of posting this? I just found it to be an extremely kind of toxic idea that people thought they could respond to and turn it into, some beneficial thing for all of us. But I just found it to be mean. And that’s it. Being mean is not a point of view or pardon me, it is a point of view, just not one I want to hear. Sorry I haven’t thought about my own point of view. Yeah.


Ira Madison III You know it’s giving rage bait.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Rage bait.


Ira Madison III It’s giving. Yeah, yeah. I want you to get mad. I want you to respond. I want the tick views. It’s very much the same way that there’s always a wayward Gen-Z gay tweeting something about how, open relationships. We fought for equality just to get to open relationships or. But what I saw yesterday that said, from the same person who has tweeted this before to, I can’t believe gays make out in public. That’s so gross. Like it’s giving URL Grindr.


Louis Virtel Excuse me. I can’t go to a baseball game without seeing straight people make out, which. I’m just going to say nothing really erotic about that sport for me.


Ira Madison III First of all, sitting down to make that TikTok is is loser behavior, even if it is for rage bait. I can not get past the point up. You look. You look stupid. So it’s like I gotta come to your the rest of your content also.


Louis Virtel Am I the only one who’s noticed? What does that mean? Like you said on the Wikipedia, went through the, like, photo file of every SNL star and you said 0% hot.


Ira Madison III Also, I don’t really want to qualify it with a actual response. And, you know, get into the debating of, you know, whether or not there’s been hot women on SNL and the hotness of that.


Louis Virtel It was annoying to see Tina Fey trending because of this, guys, but like.


Ira Madison III Everyone is ignoring the hottest woman who is currently on SNL right now, and it’s Colin Jost.


Louis Virtel Now that is a lady. Yes. Let’s talk about posture.


Ira Madison III His porcelain good look.s


Louis Virtel Yes yes yes. Ira, what is your Keep It this week?


Ira Madison III My Keep It goes to maybe myself.


Louis Virtel Finally thank God my life, my prayers. Yes. Go ahead.


Ira Madison III Myself and the rest of the internet for making me think that the. Gags. City World Tour was going to be abominable, but I saw Nicki Minaj on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden and she killed.


Louis Virtel Really?


Ira Madison III She was so fucking good. And the show was fantastic. The I know that the it seems like the show was thrown together very quickly. Which, which can’t happen, you know, I mean, I don’t know if she was planning to really do a big, massive tour and, this, sort of manner, but. Man, I was impressed. And I’m a concert girl. Like, I’ve seen so many, random pop stars concerts, that are giving less, what Nikki is giving here. And I think that what’s really great about this is fans have been starved for it. You know, she’s mostly been doing Rolling Loud and other sort of festivals for years and not really giving the Barbies, me a tour. And so I remember the Nicki Hendrix tour, which was supposed to happen and, that got canceled. I wore to the concert, my Nicki Hendrix sweater that I bought, when that concert was initially canceled because I was like, well, let me get this merch because it is going to be valuable, in the future, and not like I’d ever sell it. But it’s nice to wear and it’s nice to see people recognize what it is when I’m wearing it. Finally getting to see Nicki live, it was just amazing. And the energy of everyone in the room, whatever you think of the Barbies online, there’s a lot to say about them.


Louis Virtel Well, that is where they live. Yeah.


Ira Madison III The people in the concert was a mix of younger fans, guys I knew in the city, older people, to be honest, like old, like older people who just sort of like, love her music and love hip hop. And everyone was singing along to every song, even if some people didn’t know the newer songs, they knew sort of like songs from five years ago. Everyone was singing along to like, the Pink Friday songs, like the Roman Reloaded songs, the Pink Prince songs. It was just really an amalgamation of a lot of people from different cultures, races, ages.


Louis Virtel I feel like a criticism people have had of her live is she’s holding the mic up to the audience too much?


Ira Madison III Yes. And that is I mean, listen, it can happen, you know, she will be she will be rapping and then she’ll be like, you know, first things first, and I’m a keep. But she was doing a bit less of that than you were I was seeing on TikTok of the earlier shows. So maybe she’s taken some of that criticism. But I also think it’s. Makes sense for her to do that, because the audience was truly rapping along to every word.


Louis Virtel They screamed to Nicki Minaj songs. Yes, they ruin their voice, rapping along yeah yeah yeah.


Ira Madison III It it felt completely communal. I was on the floor of Madison Square Garden and people were standing in their chairs so they could just see it better. It was such a fun, communal experience and that could be everyone’s sort of experience of the Barbs. I think that the the view of the fan base would be better off.


Louis Virtel Yeah, I have to. I have to agree. I will prioritize that in the future. I think it’s good to know that Gag City has some infrastructure now.


Ira Madison III You know what? Customs was a breeze at Gag City. And that’s why I have Global Entry. Okay.


Louis Virtel Oh, I see, just for that. Wow.


Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah. Global entry of my global entry appointment was when I arrived in Gag City. You know, just five minutes.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Quick photo. Yeah, etc.. Quick gag.


Ira Madison III All right. Thank you to Justice Smith for being here this week. Thank you to Kendra James also for hopping on with us to talk Beyonce. I mean, how could we not want Kendra in the studio? She was coming in the studio either way.


Louis Virtel Yeah. No. She had a lasso in hand ripping open the door with it.


Ira Madison III She was giving Denzel Washington. I’m leaving here with something. Don’t forget to follow Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. You can also subscribe to Keep It on YouTube for access to full episodes and other exclusive content. And if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review.


Louis Virtel Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our producers are Chris Lord and C.J. “Siege” Polkinghorne are executive producers are Ira Madison, the third, Louis Virtel, and Kendra James. Our digital team as Megan Patzel, Claudia Sheng, and Rachel Gaewski. This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to Matt DeGroot, David Toles, Kyle Seglin, and Charlotte Landes for production support every week.