“Church Girl” by Beyoncé
The title of this piece (“Church Girl”) has a religious connotation, and the lyrics are based on such a concept. But all things considered, this track could be more accurately defined as a secular-party song.
Well actually, what Beyoncé is speaking to is, shall we say a well-known fact of the modern world, that some ‘church girls’ are actually quite wild once they hit the club. Or viewed from a different angle, relatively speaking they’re usually so reserved that when they get the opportunity to ‘act loose’, these ladies do tend to let it all hang out.
Knowles also seems to be encouraging such females to ‘get it tatted if they want to’ – a practice which isn’t canonical according to the Bible, but still. And on a deeper note, what she appears to be saying is that women who regularly attend church also tend to routinely contend with, most simply put, depression.
So relatedly, what the vocalist is also putting forth is that such individuals should not beat up on themselves for hanging out with their girls at a party. That is to say that, traditionally speaking, churches would frown on such actions, i.e. secular revelry. But as Beyoncé puts it, she’s not privy to allowing herself to be judged by others.
The Jay-Z Jab?
That said, there’s also a particular line in the outro which fans are interpreting as a jab against Jay-Z, i.e. Beyoncé’s own husband, which if true wouldn’t necessarily be the first time she theoretically called him out in song. However, usually in such cases, the lyrics would have something to do with his infidelity. But the noteworthy line this time around centers on the vocalist implying that she’s dating a dude due to his wealth, as when it comes to his looks, he’s found wanting.
Of course it would be a stretch to go as far as to actually conclude that, most simply put, Beyoncé is calling Jigga unattractive. But first of all, said line is quite conspicuous, and may we even say completely unrelated to the rest of the song. And secondly, the main reason fans have taken that theory and run with it is because Jay-Z’s facial features have been mocked in the past. In fact on one of his own old tracks titled “Song Cry”, Jigga himself acknowledged that back in the day (i.e. before he blew up) romantic interests did in fact deem him “ugly” and unattractive.
In any event, even if that line is quite ear-catching, the song itself isn’t about lovers or anything like that, at least not as far as its main point. Rather, what the vocalist seems to be arguing, most concisely put, is that church girls gone wild isn’t something they should be criticized for. Indeed the ever-free Beyoncé herself is someone who, as those familiar with her personal history can attest to, more or less grew up in the church.
“Church Girl” Credits
There are actually a number of other songs interpolated or sampled into this one, and as such the writers of those pieces have also been credited on “Church Girl”. And they include:
- The late, great James Brown (1933-2006), who wrote “Think (About It)”, the 1972 tune by Lyn Collins.
- DJ Jimi, author of “Where They At” (1992)
- Twinkie Clark of the gospel act The Clark Sisters, whose 1981 piece “Center of Thy Will” is utilized.
- Phil “Triggaman” Price and Orville “Bugs Can Can” Hall, aka The Showboys, whose 1986 track “Drag Rap” is sampled therein.
So besides for Brown, DJ Jimi, Clark, Price and Hall, the other co-writers of “Church Girl” are:
- William Slater
- Ralph MacDonald
- Derrick Robert Ordogne
- No I.D.
And it’s also the last three names on that list, in addition to Stuart White, who produced this song.
Release of “Church Girl”
As an interesting side note, “Renaissance”, the album this track is derived from, did leak in its entirety a few days before its official release date as stipulated by Columbia Records, whom Beyoncé has actually been signed to since her Destiny Child days. Well actually, the interesting part is that Knowles revealed on Instagram that “all” her fans actually waited until 29 July 2022, when the LP was officially dropped, to “enjoy it together”.