Bey is back we’re all sleeping real good at night.

Last night, the most important artist in popular music today released her seventh studio album, Renaissance, and in many ways, it is indeed a rebirth. Beyoncé showed us that she is truly on a new vibration with sounds we’ve never heard from her, while also giving us glimpses of Classic Bey.

The album begins with a declaration: “These motherfuckers ain’t stopping me.” That line loops throughout “I’m That Girl,” where Bey let’s us know just that over a production that is both moody and danceable. The song is an ode to self from a woman who has been the most dominant force in pop culture for the last two decades. “I didn’t want this power,” she sings, as the song makes a transition to what sounds like an entirely new song.

On this album, Beyoncé’s mad scientist style of making music is very apparent. Almost every single track sounds like a synthesis of very disparate compositions.

The ode to self is followed by an ode to Black women in general. “Cozy” celebrates the beauty and perseverance of the Black woman, and is chock full of Instagram-caption-worthy lines. In-between Beyoncé’s declarations of coziness, we hear clips of internet sensation TS Madison speaking about the depths of his Blackness.

We get more braggadocio on “Alien Superstar,” where Bey sends a clear message to her peers: “I’m one of one.” Ballroom influences can be heard in the parlance and the cadence of the beat, with the singer telling us in different ways that she’s unique. The message is underscored with the words of writer Barbara Ann Teer, who can be heard speaking to the uniqueness of Black people towards the end of the song.

“Cuff It” is the first true bop on the album. We get a melody; we get a groovy beat; we even get horns. But the best part of the song is that we get vocals. Beyoncé sings from top to bottom, and it is glorious. Based on samples of Teena Marie’s “Square Biz” and Chic’s “Good Times,” it is the album’s clear winner (and probably should’ve been its lead single).

The album’s mid-song transitions, though impressive, are no match for the track-to-track transitions — the most seamless of which can be found where “Cuff It” becomes “Energy.” The track begins with leftovers of “Cuff It” then transitions to an Afrobeats-style production. The hook is performed by Jamaican rapper (and one of the song’s co-writers) BEAM. It is followed by the album’s lead single, “Break My Soul,” in a transition aided by Big Freedia’s voice.

The title and first few seconds of “Church Girl” will have you thinking you’re about to hear a ballad, but you aren’t. “Church girls getting loose, bad girls acting snotty,” Bey sings, over a New Orleans bounce beat. DJ Jimi’s “Where They At Now,” a classic bounce track, is the most prominent of the sampled songs on “Church Girl.”

“Plastic off the Sofa” brings us as close to a ballad as we will get on Renaissance. It is an R&B song that doesn’t try to be anything else, and compared to the complex nature of most of the album, its simplicity feels radical. The song offers smooth production, smooth vocals, and even smoother lyrics. At one point, Beyoncé sings, “I think you’re so cool, even though I’m cooler than you.”

The smoothness of “Plastic off the Sofa” is maintained to the very last second, where it transitions to “Virgo’s Groove,” a song that lives up its title. It manages to be a bop and a baby-making song at the same damn time, with Beyoncé using a blunt as a metaphor for her body as she invites her lover to take a hit. It is a great track for the summer, and with their season just around the corner, you know Virgos are about to be insufferable.

At over six minutes long, “Virgo’s Groove” manages to keep you engaged throughout, which is no small feat for such a lengthy track. Bey ends the song with vocal runs that will take you back to the Dangerously in Love era.

The legendary Grace Jones lends her pen and voice to “Move,” a dancehall/Afrobeats blend that will take you on the first listen. Unlike the other obvious fusions of different compositions, this one feels particularly natural — the fact that both parts of the song are equally good doesn’t hurt. Tems also lends her pen and voice to “Move” — as if we needed more evidence that she is the It Girl of the moment. We’ve already crowned “Cuff It,” but if anyone said this was the album’s best song, we wouldn’t call them unreasonable.

“Heated” is another dancehall-yet-Afrobeats track. However, it draws from both genres in a distinctively indistinctive way — in a Drake-ish kinda way, if you will. As a matter of fact, the Canadian is credited as one of the song’s writers. His version of the song made it to the internet a month ago, but it’s not clear if it was made as a demo for Beyoncé or if the rapper/singer recorded it for one of his projects.

On “Heated,” Beyoncé pulls from the Ballroom culture once again. This time, she performs a Ballroom-style rap, where she clocks you fickle-ass fans with arguably the best line of the album: “Monday, I’m overrated, Tuesday, on my dick.” She also gives a shout-out to her late Uncle Jonny, who she credits with exposing her to “a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album.” In 2019, she dedicated her GLAAD Vanguard Award to him, describing him as “the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known.”

Lyrically, “Thique” is everything you thought it would be. Sonically, however, it is a bit of a surprise. It starts with a trap-style beat, but within the first minute, it turns into an fast-paced, House-ish track, where Bey gives us more Ballroom-style rap. Azealia Banks would fit in perfectly on this song.

On an album largely made up of new sounds from Beyoncé, “All up in Your Mind” manages to go even further left than the rest. The song is pop-yet-R&B-yet-EDM-yet-rock — at the same damn time. While its production feels very different, the song itself is quite orthodox in the sense that it sounds like it is a singular composition as opposed to a fusion of different songs.

Beyoncé faked us out again on “America Has a Problem,” which is not the political song you would probably expect. The problem in question is Beyoncé and her sexy body. Production-wise, “America Has a Problem” is somewhat reminiscent of Bey’s top 10 hit, “Sweet Dreams.”

“Pure/Honey” is the most naked of the fusions on Renaissance — the title gives away the fact that it is two different songs in one. “Pure” is another Ballroom joint, complete with a loop of Kevin Aviance saying “cunt, cunt, cunt” — it samples his 1996 single, “Cunty.” The track takes a sharp turn when it transitions to “Honey,” which is a groovy jam with slight disco influences. It closes with another nod to Ballroom culture, with a loop of Moi Renee saying “Miss Honey.”

The album closes with “Summer Renaissance,” which samples Donna Summer’s 1977 hit, “I Feel Love.” In a way, this sample feels like it checks multiple boxes all at once. It honors one of the “fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long”; it pays homage to the queer community, which was integral to rise of disco; and it gives a nod to her earlier work — one of first singles as a solo artist, “Naughty Girl,” also samples the Queen of Disco. As the song ends and the album comes to a close, Bey lists a number of designers — included Telfar — and lets us know that she is in her bag. And that she is.

Everything about Renaissance — from the sounds to the rollout — indicates that Beyoncé is as sure of herself as she ever was. And she has reason to be. At nearly 25 years in the industry, she is able to keep her sound fresh and the demand for her music still resembles that of a hot new artist. She is every bit an alien superstar.

Album rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars.

This week in 2002, Austin Powers in Goldmember — the third installment of the Austin Powers franchise — was released. The movie co-starred a then-20-year-old Beyoncé, who was making her big screen debut. Prior to this movie, she had only appeared in Carmen: A Hip Hopera, which went straight to television.

The Goldmember soundtrack gave Beyoncé another first: It’s lead single, “Work It Out,” would become her very first single as a solo artist. Co-written by The Neptunes and the singer, the track is a bouncy funk tune that aims to give you the ‘70s feel of its parent movie. As a matter of fact, Beyoncé appears to be performing the song as Foxxy Cleopatra, her character in the movie.

(Random, not-so-fun fact: While practicing tricks on the set of this video shoot, Beyoncé got hit in the face by the microphone stand, leading to a chipped tooth.)

“Work It Out” isn’t a terrible song, but it just doesn’t quite curl all the way over. Though it was a top 10 hit in the UK, the song completely missed the charts in the US. At the time, it looked like the former leader of Destiny’s Child couldn’t make it happen on her own. We would soon know better.

As we begin a new era tonight, let’s take a look back at where it all began for Beyoncé the solo artist.

If you asked the average person why The Beatles broke up, they’d probably point a finger at John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, because that has been the prevailing narrative in pop culture lore. It was always just easier to blame a woman.

However, in the case of the short-lived group, City High, it was indeed a woman who led to the group’s demise. And unlike The Beatles, the woman was a member of the group. CLaudette Ortiz, the sole lady in the trio (who turns 41 years old today), dated bandmate Robbie Pardlo and later got married to her other bandmate, Ryan Toby. This group didn’t survive this love triangle of sorts, which was discussed in Episode 27 of the podcast.

Scandal aside, Claudette is an amazing vocalist. She released a few singles as a solo artist, but was never quite able to duplicate the success the enjoyed with City High. Her finest work is without a doubt her collabo with Wyclef Jean, “Two Wrongs,” which was the lead single for his third studio album, Masquerade.

Miles Bridges has been charged with one felony count of injuring a child’s parent and two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. The charges stem from an incident that took place last month, where the NBA player allegedly brutalizing his girlfriend and mother of his kids, Mychelle Johnson. A report of the incident lists a broken nose and contused rib among her injuries. Bridges had been arrested on June 29 and released on a $130,000 bond. He pled not guilty at his arraignment earlier today.

In a post made to her now-deleted Instagram account on July 1, Johnson posted pictures of her battered face and claimed that her and Bridges’ two children witnessed the domestic abuse.

Bridges is due back in court on August 19.

Desus & Mero will not be returning for a fifth season. The news was confirmed via the show’s official Twitter account and a supporting statement from Desus Nice.


This comes after months of speculation about an apparent feud between the two hosts, who were former high school mates and both rose to prominence via Twitter. The rumors started after they stopped releasing new episodes of their podcast, Bodega Boys. According to a fan who supposedly ran into The Kid Mero, when he asked why, Mero’s response was “ask Desus.”

Rumblings about the feud grew louder late last night, and now we have the official word.

The last episode of ‘Desus & Mero’ will air on July 23.

Kodak Black (real name Bill K. Kapri) was arrested yesterday during a traffic stop in Fort Lauderdale. The rapper’s vehicle registration and driver’s license were both expired, and according to authorities, his car smelled of marijuana, which is illegal in Florida.

During a search of his car, authorities found 31 oxycodone pills and $75,000 in cash. He has since been charged with possessing a controlled substance without a prescription and trafficking oxycodone.

Kodak Black’s lawyer has negotiated a $75,000 bond, which will be paid later today.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what good music sounds like.

Sean Paul tapped Gwen Stefani — the Empress of Cultural Appropriation — and Shenseea for “Light My Fire,” his latest single from his eighth studio album, Scorcha, which dropped in May. Between the “dutty yeah” ad libs scattered throughout the song and Gwen showing up in Dutty Rock form in the video, it all feels familiar in a way that would make a millennial fall in love it right away. Do they even make music videos like this anymore?! The addition of Shen Yeng infuses the right amount of newness, and she fits in neatly with this duo of veterans.

“Light My Fire” is just what we need for summer ’22. Check it out below.

Ricky Martin is facing up to 50 years in prison after his 21-year-old nephew, Daniel Yadiel Sanchez, accused him of incest and domestic violence. This news comes just 12 days after Sanchez filed a restraining order against the singer. At the time, no additional detail was provided about who filed now why it was filed, but Ricky released a statement explaining that the order was filed based on false allegations.

Ricky’s brother, Eric Martin, is said to have helped identify the alleged victim. According to Spanish media outlet Marca, Ricky maintained a seven-month relationship with his nephew, and when his nephew broke up with him, Ricky continued contacting him and showing up at his house.

Just nasty. All of it.

This ghetto-ass family.

Elon Musk’s 76-year-old father, Errol Musk, just revealed that he had a second child with his 35-year-old step-daughter, Jana Bezuidenhout, who was only four years old when he married her mother. The child was born in 2019, just two years after they had their first child, who Errol described as a “one-off mistake.” In a statement to The Sun, he said, “The only thing we are on Earth for is to reproduce.”

Errol now has seven children — three fewer than Elon.