The Super Bowl halftime show just got a little more interesting. Beyoncé, who is scheduled to perform tomorrow alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars, just released a mesmerizing new single. "Formation," which she released as a surprise on Saturday, plays as an extended tribute to the people and culture of New Orleans. The song, which was produced by Mike Will, is built on a sample from New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia. You can find it on YouTube, but if you want to download it, you'll have to visit Tidal, where she has posted it as an exclusive.
"What happened after New Orleans?" begins the track, which finds Beyoncé in a variety of striking Crescent City locales: a mansion, a parking lot, a high school gym, and a New Orleans police cruiser slowly sinking into a flood. It reads as a celebration of blackness not unlike Kendrick Lamar's video for "King Kunta," with lyrics referencing Beyoncé's "Jackson 5 nostrils." The video references the Black Lives Matter movement, showing a little black boy throwing his hands up in front of a line of police, who then throw their hands up as well. But the video belong to Beyoncé, and a catchphrase that rings throughout the track: "I slay."
Verge Video: The best Super Bowl explainer on Earth