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Watch The Animated History Of How Beyoncé’s “Formation” Came To Be

Producer Mike WiLL Made-It It explains how the song went from a line someone said in the back of his car to the biggest song of 2016.

Watch The Animated History Of How Beyoncé’s “Formation” Came To Be

WHAT: The first episode of the new web series What Had Happened Was from music site Pigeons & Planes.

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WHO: Mike WiLL Made-It, with animated cameos by Rae Sremmurd, Jay Z, LeBron James, and, of course, Beyoncé.

WHY WE CARE: “Formation” was the first song we heard from Beyoncé’s seminal Lemonade, and it may end up being the most enduring track. With its stuttering guitar, charismatic synth lines, and extremely quotable lines (“I got hot sauce in my bag / swag”), the biggest song of 2016 remains extremely relevant in 2017 and beyond. But if you’re wondering where the song came from exactly, and if you prefer to receive information like that through the medium of animation, you’re in for a treat: Atlanta producer Mike WiLL Made-It, who developed the track with Bey, tells the whole story.

It starts with him at Coachella, hanging out with Rae Sremmurd, to hearing the group’s Swae Lee freestyle “now let’s get in formation” in the backseat of his car, to recording a track on the voice notes app on his phone. Fully aware that Beyoncé was looking for ideas for a new album, fleshed out his ideas in the studio with Rae Sremmurd, sent the rough draft to Beyoncé, and the rest is chart-topping, “gumbo”-making history–just watch the video and you’ll understand.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.

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