Because it was associated with Steve Martin’s stupid Pink Panther remake and because the video is appalling, Check On It gets nowhere near the respect and attention that it should.
Of the many things to admire about Beyonce, the most admirable is the one that seems to get noticed the least: her incredible voice. She can sing the arse off just about anyone you care to mention. And what does she do? Mostly wastes it on decent-ish R&B material that, quite frankly, would suit any of her lesser contemporaries. To the point: her voice deserves much better than it gets.
That said, I think Check On It is a moment where it all comes together. Not only is it funky and danceable and poppy, it’s also quite tricksy: the stuttering intro, the synth drone, the chicka chicka drums – with Beyonce’s voice keeping it all together. It’s also quite a naive, nursery rhymey song that sits at odds with the lyrics, all that “I can tell you want to taste it but I’m gonna make you chase it” business.
The bit from around 3:10 when she starts wailing and singing about “sexy boy” and “mine all mine” etc. brings tears to my eyes. Honestly, if I’m particularly in the mood I could swoon clear away. How come? The tone of her voice, the very sound of it? I don’t really know. But it gets me every time.
It’s one of my all-time favourite songs. But sometimes, if I’m in the mood, I think it could be my very favourite song of all time.