Beyoncé – “Renaissance” review

Beyoncé is a 40 year old singer/songwriter, producer, dancer, actress, businesswoman & director from Houston, Texas who rose to fame in the late-90’s as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child. She eventually began her career as a solo artist in the summer of 2003 with the slept-on Dangerously in Love, but found both B’Day & I Am…Sasha Fierce to be average at best. 4 though was her best since her full-length debut, paving the way for a self-titled effort & Lemonade to become her most critically acclaimed bodies of work yet. But as a way to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Bey’s returning with her 7th album & the first in a new trilogy.

The opener “I’m That Girl” sets it all off talking about how no one can fuck with her over an instrumental featuring co-production from Mike Dean & S1 flipping “Still Pimpin’” by Tommy Wright III whereas “Cozy” comes through with a more housier vibe encouraging one to be comfortable with their own skin. The intergalactic aesthetics of “Alien Superstar” makes it a highlight for my personal as she talks about being too classy, but then “Cuff It” goes into disco territory confessing that she feels like fucking shit up.

Meanwhile on “Energy”, we have Beyoncé returning to house turf thanks to Skrillex getting rebellious rightfully calling out Karens turning into terrorists leading into “Break My Soul” pulling from Euro house sampling “Show Me Love” by Robin S. telling everyone that she’s unbreakable. “Church Girl” pulls from ballroom music with the help of Tricky Stewart & No I.D. with a Clark Sisters flip to further confirm that women who regularly attend church are super freaky just before “Plastic Off the Sofa” is a contemporary R&B ballad produced with Syd of course getting on the more romantic side of things.

“Virgo’s Groove” returns to a more dance-pop sound encouraging her lover to come over while “Move” pulls from hip house & afrobeats advising everyone to get the fuck out her way. “Heated” embraces afro house to talk about fanning off while “Thique” reveals itself to be another favorite of mine from Hit-Boy’s infectious production to the lyrics about body positivity & even bragging that her bread’s getting bigger.

Following that, “All Up in Your Mind” bombastically warns to be careful what you ask for because she could comply while the song “America Has a Problem” heavily samplez the Kilo Ali cut of the same name basically declaring herself to be the Tony Montana of sex appeal. The penultimate track “Pure / Honey” is a ballroom-inspired 2 parter talking about feeling her technique & getting people stuck to her love as “Summer Renaissance” finishes the album with 1-last house banger to describe a gangster growing on her.

Truth be told: I went into Renaissance expecting it to be average at best considering my initial reaction to “Break My Soul” when it came out last month was moderate & I have to inevitably mention the new Drake album Honestly, Nevermind being a decent homage to the late Virgil Abloh. Since it’s finally here however & I got to marinate with it for a while, I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought & find it to be as great as IDK’s latest EP Simple. that just came out a couple months ago. The dance-tinged production is a sweet homage to her late uncle Johnny & her performances are incredibly empowering.

Score: 4/5

The Carters – “EVERYTHING IS LOVE” review


The Carters are a musical duo consisting of legendary Brooklyn MC JAY-Z & his wife, former Destiny’s Child member & Houston popstar Beyoncé. Their latest albums Lemonade & 4:44 saw them at their most personal, but now they’re closing out the trilogy with a collaborative effort.

The album starts off with “SUMMER”, which is a sex song over a Cool & Dre instrumental that suits the mood fantastically. The next track “APESHIT” is an energetic club banger with an infectious Pharrell beat & Bey’s rapping was a very nice touch. The song “BOSS” talks about success over a triumphant trap beat from D’Mile & Mike Dean while the track “NICE” with Pharrell sees the 3 getting braggadocious over some beautiful keys & rattling hi-hats. The song “713” is a dedication to Beyoncé’s hometown over an instrumental with heavy bass with even some Scott Storch-like keyboards. It makes even more sense that Bey interpolates the classic Dr. Dre tune “Still D.R.E.” in the hook, but that’s really the only part of the song that I’m realistically not crazy about.

The track “FRIENDS” sees the 2 individually dedicating the time to song crew over a gloomy trap beat from Boi-1da & for some reason NAV while the song “HEARD ABOUT US” tells their critics to watch their mouths over a funky beat. The penultimate track “BLACK EFFECT” sees the 2 intelligently talking about being African American over a soulful trap beat & then it finishes perfectly with “LOVEHAPPY”, where the ‘03 Bonnie & Clyde go back & forth with each other about professing their love for each other as well as moving on from the whole Becky incident over a beautiful Eddie & Ernie sample.

I’m well aware that Jigga intentionally gave us this  just the day after the new Nas album NASIR & while that is definitely superior, I still thought this was a lovely way to end the trilogy. Given what they’ve been through, the impeccable chemistry between JAY-Z & Beyoncé is a lot more stronger than it’s been in the past. Most of the instrumentals are luscious too & while I do enjoy a handful of trap music, I feel like a few of the beats on here sounded like they were forced to throw in hi-hats when they really didn’t need to

Score: 4/5