Big Freedia Reveals The Real Meaning Of Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul”

“It was hard keeping it a secret — I didn’t even tell my whole team.”

Big Freedia Reveals The Meaning Of Beyoncé's "Break My Soul" & How She Kept The Collab Secret
Nelson Cosey/Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images Entertainment/

Big Freedia feels like fainting. The New Orleans rapper is on everyone’s radar again after Beyoncé featured Big Freedia on “Break My Soul,” the lead single from her seventh studio album Renaissance. “It was hard keeping it a secret — I didn’t even tell my whole team,” Big Freedia tells Bustle not long after the song’s release. “[I’m] excited and blessed, and like, I might faint!”

The house-inspired song heavily samples the early 1990s hit “Show Me Love” by Robin S. as well as the 2014 dance bop “Explode” by Big Freedia. Listeners immediately latched onto the song’s ode to burnout culture and call for The Great Resignation: “Release ya anger, release ya mind / release ya job, release the time / release ya trade, release the stress / release the love, forget the rest.” People everywhere are interpreting the verse — which was pulled directly from “Explode” — as encouragement to quit their jobs. While that wasn’t necessarily Big Freedia’s original intent, the lyrics have found an enduring relevance in today’s work-centered culture. “‘Explode’ is a song about the daily stresses of life and coming to the club to release it all,” she says.

Big Freedia believes Beyoncé related to “Explode” both lyrically and sonically, which led to its inclusion as a primary construct in “Break My Soul.” The Beyoncé single is meant to be a celebration of “letting go of stresses in life, of relationship stress, work stress, pandemic stress,” Big Freedia says. “We’ve all had a tough couple years, and it’s time to release it all.”

Big Freedia adds that Beyoncé approached her months ago about this collaboration. Beyoncé’s team at Parkwood Entertainment was so eager to get the song in front of Big Freedia’s team that she initially flew a laptop with the track across the country, according to NOLA.com. Reid Martin, Big Freedia’s manager, was taken aback by how much Big Freedia was featured in the song. Beyoncé then brought her into the studio once the single was finished to hear the final version.

Though “Break My Soul” is not Big Freedia’s first collaboration with Bey (she was also featured on Beyoncé’s “Formation” in 2016), it doesn’t make the new collab any less exciting for the rapper. “It feels surreal to be on the track with the Queen Beyoncé once again I’m so honored to be apart of this special moment I’m forever grateful lord someone please catch me,” Big Freedia, who is going on tour this year and appearing on the new season of College Hill: Celebrity Edition on BET starting June 27, tweeted on release day.