Upgrade U
by Beyoncé (featuring Jay-Z)

Album: B'day (2006)
Charted: 59
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • To be upgraded is to be raised in status. Here, Beyoncé is offering luxuries to her man to upgrade him. The song features Beyoncé's then-boyfriend, now husband, Jay-Z, who questions as an A-list rapper why he needs such a makeover.

    How you gon' upgrade me?
    What's higher than number one?
    You know I used to beat that block
    Now I be's the block


    Beyonce's reply is she will upgrade Jay-Z's reputation and lifestyle. The pair go on to name-check a list of products from prestige brands and companies, such as Audemars Piguet," "Cartier," "Hermès," "Lorraine Schwartz" and "Ralph Lauren Purple Label." Some critics questioned the lack of romance in the lyrics which seem to be advancing a love affair as a business arrangement.
  • The song was originally composed by Swizz Beatz, Beyoncé, Makeba Riddick, Sean Garrett, Angela Beyincé, and Beyoncé's sister, Solange, with others such as Jay-Z adding their contributions later. Riddick recalled to Billboard that despite having so many writers in a room working on the tune, "the process actually went smoothly."

    The writing session kicked off with Beyoncé and Sean Garrett "joking around and talking about first-class flights and diamonds," which became the lyrics for "Upgrade U." Solange and Riddick then wrote the bridge, Garrett and Beyoncé the hook and Beyincé, some verses. "We were in such a team head space, and I think that's why the B'Day album is so cohesive," Riddick recalled. "Before you knew it, three weeks had gone by and we had made an entire album, with international cuts included."
  • T.I. was to be the original guest on the song, but he had his verse removed, most likely due to his legal problems, and was replaced by Jay-Z.
  • This was Jay-Z's second contribution to B'Day; he also hopped on the album's lead single "Deja Vu."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Tom Waits Lyrics Quiz

Tom Waits Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Pool balls, magpies and thorns without roses - how well do you know your Tom Waits lyrics?

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.