Happy Bey’s Day to all who celebrate. After a long and arduous wait for a new solo collection, the Beyhive were treated to Act I on Friday: RenaissanceBeyoncé’s seventh studio album.
The album is a masterful mix of genres, particularly focused on dance and house. It’s no huge surprise to those of us, like Obama, who have been jamming to “Break My Soul” all summer. But still, with a pretty long list of collaborators and features, the 16-song album marks a totally new era for Beyoncé. Renaissance is fun, vibrant and, at times, downright steamy. It’s also full of lyrical easter eggs and, of course, comes with searing drama. Here are five things to know about Beyoncé Renaissance.
How to listen Renaissance
An important question! But first : Renaissance was announced as “Act I”, leaving fans to wonder how many parties were involved in this project – and the album’s liner notes confirm that at least two more chapters will follow.
Starting at 12 p.m. ET on July 29, Renaissance is available wherever you stream music. Unlike Beyoncé’s last solo project, Lemonadestreamed exclusively on Tidal at the time of its release, Renaissance is loaded on Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube.
Renaissance Has a lot of good songs, but “Heated” is the best
Choosing just one standout song from a Bey album is like trying to choose your favorite child as a parent. It can be difficult, but not impossible. Across the 16 songs, the 40-year-old declares that it’s the summer to let loose, pop some champagne and own your confidence, all under the guidance of her carefully curated new album.
But “Heated” reigns supreme. The song features several collaborations, including Drake, who also released a dance album this summer. (Hers wasn’t as good. Sorry Drizzy.) On the club-ready track, Bey sings about being untamed. “Uh, only a real man can tame me / Only the radio can play me,” she sings. Another standout on the album is “Thique,” a soulful, synth-heavy cut on “money getting thicker” — and its even thicker trumps.
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Is Bey Singing About the Elevator Incident in ‘Cosy’ Again? !
Part of the fun of listening to a new album from a mega star is deciphering the lyrics and trying to figure out all the references. With Renaissance, this game is definitely underway. If you were anywhere near the internet in 2015, you might remember the infamous elevator incident where TMZ posted footage of Beyoncé’s sister, Solange, launching herself at Bey’s husband JAY-Z. , in a heated argument. On “Cozy,” the second song on the set, Beyoncé appears to reference this incident. “May I suggest you don’t fuck with my sister (Ooh) / ‘Cause she comfortable,” she sings.
But these Easter eggs aren’t just related to Beyoncé’s personal life. On “Energy,” the Grammy-winning superstar gets political. “Votin’ out 45, don’t get outta line,” she sings, referring to Donald Trump’s removal from his presidential post. On this same song, she also drags Karens. “I just walked into the country with derringers / Because the Karens became terrorists,” she sings during a break in the song.
What song did Beyoncé rip from Kelis?
Speaking of “Energy,” the song has garnered some controversy due to its sampling of Kelis’ 1999 track “Get Along With You.” And elsewhere, Kelis’ hit “Milkshake” is also interpolated for the recording.
On Thursday, Kelis opened up about how she found out about sampling with the rest of the world on social media. “My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance from all three parties involved is staggering,” she wrote in an Instagram comment from her cooking account @bountyandfull, “I’ve heard speak the same way as everyone else. Nothing is Anyway, some people in this business have no soul or integrity and they’ve fooled everyone.”
She later added that her role in the song was “not a collaboration, it’s stealing” before going on camera to speak publicly about the disrespect she felt not only from Beyoncé, but also from Pharrell and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes. “It’s called stealing because…the definition of collaboration, it means we work together,” she said in a video on Instagram, “There’s no working together unless you check not even if all goes well.”
Is the Internet freaking out? Renaissance? Yes of course.
Given all the excitement and drama surrounding the deployment of Renaissance, it’s no surprise that social media is awash with reactions, memes and hot takes. Check out our favorites below.
Ammal Hassan is a writer and the Snapchat editor of Esquire. It covers all things cultural with a focus on music and pop culture. She is originally from Nairobi, Kenya and lives in New York.
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