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How Alt-Rock Artists Contributed to Beyonce’s New Album

By Hayden Wright

Back in 2011, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend tweeted an innocuous lyric apropos of nothing: “Hold up: they don’t love u like i love u.” Today, fans of Beyoncé’s Lemonade will immediately recognize the line as the hook from “Hold Up,” the sauntering track on the first half of the album. “Songs become tweets, tweets become songs—it’s the way of the world,” the Lemonade collaborator wrote.

Koenig remembers that it began as a re-imagining of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” which contains the line “Wait—they don’t love you like I love you.” The obscure tweet was resurrected in the studio three years later with Diplo.

Related: Acid Trip at Taylor Swift Concert Inspires New Lana Del Rey Video

“I’m in the studio with Diplo. I really like this one Andy Williams loop thing he’d been messing with,” Koenig tweeted about their 2014 creative session. “We decide to make it a song. I try to think of something to go over it. I write a hook based on the ‘Maps’ tweet, adding new lines/melodies. I figured it was going to be a Vampire Weekend song but was easily convinced it could be better [and] go to a new place as a Beyoncé song.”

Along with Koenig and Diplo, Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs earned a credit on Lemonade. Another familiar face on the indie scene also made the cut—Father John Misty.

“Woke up this morning in an unmarked car with a band aid on my temple, a slight metallic taste in my mouth and a Beyoncé writing credit,” he joked after Lemonade dropped.

After a meandering tall tale about cereal jingles and an airhorn, the Lana Del Rey collaborator came clean:

“About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyonce some of my music, along with some tunes I’ve written for other people, back when she was looking for collaborators for the record,” he tweeted. “Pretty soon after they sent along the demo for ‘Hold Up,’ which was just like a minute of the sample and the hook…I went crazy and recorded a verse melody and refrain too that, unbelievably—when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo—ended up making the record—right between picking up the baseball bat and decapitating the fire hydrant.”

Misty says Beyoncé personally appeared at his Coachella set in 2015 to tell him his material made the record.

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