Beyoncé's "Formation (opens in new tab)" is a lot of things: a totally badass gym song, an excuse to eat Red Lobster, and—most importantly—an important statement about Black Lives Matter (opens in new tab) and feminism (opens in new tab). But weirdly, the creative minds behind the lyrics "okay ladies now let's get in formation" were two dudes. Specifically, producer Mike Will (AKA Mike WiLL Made-It) and rapper Swae Lee.
"So we're in the middle of the desert," Will said. "And we're just coming up—we just freestyle, you know?—and Swae Lee said, 'Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation.' And we put it on the VoiceNote. Swae Lee's got so many voice notes that he doesn't even record, but I'm like, 'Dog, we got to do that get in formation shit.' That could be a hard song for the ladies. Some woman-empowerment shit. Like, 'Ladies, let's get in line, let's not just fall for anything.' I'm seeing that vision."
The duo lay down the track post-Coachella and sent it to Beyoncé's team. A few months later, Will was at a Clippers party in L.A. when Beyoncé meandered over to him. "Bey was like, 'Yo, I like that Formation idea,'" he said. "And I told her what I was thinking about the woman empowerment, and she was like, 'Yeah I kinda like that idea.' And she just left it like that."
Beyoncé ended up writing verses around the chorus, and she and Will collaborated for a full week in the studio. "[She] took this one little idea we came up with on the way to Coachella, put it in a pot, stirred it up, and came with this smash. She takes ideas and puts them with her own ideas, and makes this masterpiece. She's all about collaborating. That's what makes her Beyoncé. Being able to know what she wants."
BRB, getting in formation all over the place right now.
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook (opens in new tab) for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.
Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.
Lawmakers, Activists, and Allies Are Reacting With Fury to 'Roe' Being Overturned
Thousands are taking to Twitter to express their grief and anger.
By Tanya Benedicto Klich
These Linen Suits Are Summer Staples
Sophisticated but not stuffy.
By Sara Holzman
The Best Skincare Routine for Acne, According to Dermatologists
Every product to include in your morning and nighttime regimen.
By Samantha Holender
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors
Surprise! Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas Are Parents
They welcomed a baby via surrogate.
By Neha Prakash
Meghan and Harry Share First Photo of Their Daughter Lilibet Diana
The Sussex's holiday card is here!
By Rachel Epstein
The 50 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes Ever
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Alicia Keys Gets What She Wants
With her jazzy new album, Keys, the singer stopped worrying about everything except what matters: Her own opinion.
By Jessica Herndon
Brooke Shields on Reinventing Yourself, Making Friends in Your 40s, and More
The actress and CEO shared inspiring advice during a panel at 'Marie Claire's' "Power Trip: Off the Grid" conference.
By Rachel Epstein