Beyoncé 'Before I Let Go' Cover: What You Need to Know About the Summertime Cookout Classic It's Based On

There is a staple moment at every Black family cookout when the plates are set aside, the dominos game is abandoned, conversations are paused and everyone—even the babies—finds their way to the dancefloor. The joyous instance usually starts the same, regardless of the location: Whatever music is playing is cut, resulting a brief moment of silence, and then, blaring from the speakers, comes a soulful, captivating, "Whoa, whooooaaaaaaaaaaa!"

It's the opening to "Before I Let Go," Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's hit single. The uptempo song, originally released in 1981, is essentially a call to the dance floor, a rite of passage of sorts, encouraging family, friendly fun and unity (even though the lyrics are about a man on the verge of a heartbreaking breakup). It's typically played at family functions, graduation parties, birthdays and, particularly, summer cookouts—not to be mistaken for a barbeque as I assure you, the two are not the same. And the song almost always leads to someone kicking off the hustle, electric slide, Chicago step or whatever the line dance is referred to in any given city.

"Before I Let Go" has been a popular anthem for Black Americans since it debuted, and it even climbed to the number 13 spot on Billboard's R&B Singles chart back in the day. But the track never reached ultimate crossover success like other R&B dance hits of that era, and neither did the band.

That will likely change now that Beyoncé has released her take on the R&B classic.

The chart-topping singer debuted her Netflix documentary, Homecoming, chronicling her iconic 2018 Coachella performance, which celebrated Black culture and history while shining the spotlight on Historically Black Colleges. Along with the documentary, Beyoncé released a full live-album—of the same title—split into 40 tracks performed during her festival set on Wednesday. Included on the soundtrack is Beyoncé's cover of "Before I Let Go," which received marching-band horn and snare treatment laced over an updated bounce-beat provided by producer Tay Keith.

Listed on the album as a bonus track, the addition of the song shocked fans but the Beehive was pleased with Beyoncé's rendition nonetheless. While it's not the first "Before I Let Go" cover—Destiny's Child has an unreleased version and Mary J. Blige has one too—the song is certainly in a position to become one of the biggest.

If you’re not playing Beyoncé’s version of “Before I Let Go” at the cookout this summer, you’re fired.

— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) April 17, 2019

With the "Before I Let Go" cover, Beyoncé has provided more than just a fun, dance-worthy moment for the masses to enjoy. She's also brought international awareness of black culture and tradition that has never been given world-stage attention.

Her version of “Before I Let Go” is really the new cookout Slap😭🙌🏾

— Joileeah Worley (@_joifully) April 17, 2019

That seemed to be the sole purpose of her Coachella set, which she explained in the documentary, seeped with inspirational quotes by cultural legends like Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Nina Simone.

"I felt like people wanted me to stay in my little box. I could have worn my flower crown, but it was more important to bring our culture to Coachella," Beyoncé said.

With the Homecoming documentary and live album, it's safe to say the award-winning figure has done more than that.

See a few fan reactions Beyoncés cover of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's classic hit, "Before I Let Go," below.

@Beyonce's remake of "Before I Let Go" is an intergenerational conversation in Black joy, one desperately needed in these troubled times. The woman is a genius. Of course, this is already well known.

— Michael W. Waters (@RevDrMikeWaters) April 17, 2019

me at the cookouts this summer when that beyoncé version of “before i let go” comes on

— nadirah (@hinadirah) April 17, 2019

I did not know I needed Bey’s version of “Before I Let Go” until now. Wow. @taykeith outdid himself. 🐝

— Bri Wade (@xoxoBnWade) April 17, 2019

Beyonce really remade before I let go. The queen has given me a new cookout jam.

— Ny♒ (@Aquarius_Ave) April 17, 2019

hit the old heads over the head with this Before I Let Go this Summer. they gon be shook.

— craigandnem. (@_veteranCraig) April 17, 2019

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts