July 4, 2023, had the highest average temperature across the globe — 62.9°F — since record-keeping began. That record was matched on July 5.

The record before these last two days? This past Monday, where the globe reached an average temperature of 62.6°F. The record before this week, 61.9°F, was set in August 2016.

Experts blame global warming caused by man-made activities as well as El Niño, a natural warming of the Pacific Ocean that happens every two to seven years. The record set this week is expected to be broken again — more than once — over the next six weeks.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Pittsburgh stop of Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour will be canceled due to “production logistics and scheduling issues.”

In addition, the second LA show will now be the first of the three shows in that city, moving from September 3 to September 1. The Seattle show has been moved from September 13 to September 14, and the Kansas City show has been moved from September 18 to October 1.

In response to the cancelation, the mayor of Pittsburgh, Ed Gainey, has issued a statement where he explains that Bey was going to get honored with her own day in the city. He also revealed that city officials are now working with the promoters to get her to schedule a new date for the show.

Conventional wisdom says kids should be shielded from suggestive material, but the fact of the matter is that it all flies over their heads 99% of the time.

It’s me. I’m kids.

When Next released “Too Close” in early ’98 as the second single from their debut album, Rated Next, my pre-teen mind was too pure to figure out what the group was singing about. I’m not sure what I thought they were singing about — or if I gave it any thought at all — but a decade would pass before I realized RL n ’em were singing about the bulge in their pants.

In retrospect, singing about your bulge feels like something out of an SNL skit.

“Too Close” is based on a sample of Kurtis Blow’s debut single, “Christmas Rappin’.” The song was co-written by all three members of the group and Kay Gee, the song’s producer. It spent five non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with Mariah Carey’s “My All” interrupting for one week.

More than a quarter-century later, “Too Close” stands out as the group’s signature hit.

Today in 2003, Beyoncé released her solo debut album, Dangerously in Love.

Named after a track that originally appeared on Destiny Child’s third album, Survivor, it was easy to assume that the project was going to be a continuation of what she had done with the group — after all, she was its frontwoman and said track is actually included on the album as a “Part 2” that is basically the same song. However, with Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé the solo artist showed us that she was different — different from Beyoncé the Child of Destiny, and different from anything we had seen, past or present.

From the moment the “Crazy in Love” video dropped, popular music was never the same. Yes, the song is strong on its own and Beyoncé is a god-level vocalist, but like Michael Jackson, she brought her music to life in a special way with her visuals. Yes, this fact feels a little contradictory at a time where she has starved us of visuals for an album released almost a year ago, but stick with me.

From its iconic opening walk to the “uh-oh” dance, the “Crazy in Love” video established Bey as a solo star and made us all pay attention. In the months following its release, she would give a number of mind-blowing live performances of the song that really drove the point home: This is not your regular superstar. For the most part, we’ve had to choose between big vocalists like Whitney and Mariah, and dancers like Janet. With Beyoncé, we had someone who could not only sing with the best of them but dance her ass off as well — and oftentimes, do both at the same time.

Between the videos and live performances, Beyoncé gave us magic, but make no mistake, Dangerously in Love was a masterpiece in and of itself. Her pipes were never in question, but with ballads like “Speechless” and her cover of “The Closer I Get to You” (with Luther Vandross), she reinforces her status as a supreme vocalist. And on mid-tempos like “Signs” (featuring Missy Elliott), “Yes” and “Me, Myself and I” (the album’s third single), she not only wows us vocally but exudes a level of maturity we had never seen from her.

While Beyoncé is good at every tempo, one could argue that she shines brightest on the up-tempos. Contrary to what a casual fan might think, there are actually only three on Dangerously in Love: “Crazy in Love” (featuring then-boyfriend and future husband, Jay-Z), “Baby Boy” (featuring Sean Paul) and the Donna-Summer-inspired “Naughty Girl.” The album is opened with them, and wisely, they were three of the album’s four singles.

“Crazy in Love” spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed by “Baby Boy,” which spent nine. “Me, Myself and I” and “Naughty Girl,” the album’s third and fourth singles, respectively, both peaked in the top five of the chart.

Fun fact: “Crazy in Love” is the only single from the album that wasn’t co-written and co-produced by Scott Storch.

Dangerously in Love would go on to sell over 11 million copies and win just about every award there was, including four MTV Video Music Awards (across two years) and five Grammy Awards, the latter of which put Beyoncé in a three-way tie with Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys for most wins by a female artist in a single night. She would eventually break that record in 2010, when she won six for I Am… Sasha Fierce. Today, she stands alone as the most decorated artist in Grammy history, with 32 career wins for her work as a solo artist and as a member of Destiny’s Child and The Carters.

Twenty years later (and while she is in the midst of a record-breaking world tour), Dangerously in Love is a reminder of where it all started for the living legend that is Beyoncé. Its impact is still felt today, and even as she continues to give us new classics, it remains the ultimate benchmark for female contemporary R&B artists in the 21st century.

Favorite track:

It looks like Nicki Minaj’s wagon is firmly hitched to Ice Spice and she isn’t let go anytime soon. Just months after their first collab, the rappers have joined forces once again on “Barbie World,” a track from the Barbie movie soundtrack. The song samples Aqua’s 1997 hit, “Barbie Girl,” and also features the Scandinavian group. At just a minute and 50 seconds, “Barbie World” feels more like an interlude than a full track, and truthfully, the chaotic nature of the song doesn’t help.

The video is as pink and playful as you would expect it to be, and has been watched over five million times on YouTube in under 48 hours.

No conversation about the ’80s is complete without mentioning Cyndi Lauper. From the music to the fashion, Ms. Lauper helped defined that decade.

Today, the New York native turns 70 years old, so it’s only right that she gets this week’s TBT spotlight.

Before the world got to know Cyndi, she had a false start with a band called Blue Angel. Though critically acclaimed, the band made no waves with its 1980 self-titled album and eventually disbanded. The group was then sued by its manager, which led to Cyndi filing for bankruptcy and working retail and restaurant jobs. It is worth noting that Cyndi had been offered solo deals while she was with the group and turnned them down out of loyalty.

In 1981, Cyndi got a second shot at fame when she was discovered by David Wolff, the man who would become her manager, while singing at a bar in New York City. In 1983, at age 30, she would release her solo debut single, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and the rest is history. The song would peak at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its parent album, aptly named She’s So Unusual, would go on to sell 16 million copies worldwide. The album also holds the distinction of being the first by a female artist to place four singles in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100.

Cyndi would go on to win the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1985 and continue giving us classics for the rest of the decade. Join me in celebrating this true pop icon.

Jonathan Majors appeared in court for the first time for his domestic violence case — with Meagan Good by his side, no less.

If “I’ma stick beside him” was a person.

Majors was charged with misdemeanor assault, aggravated harassment, attempted assault, and harassment back in March after allegedly slapping and choking his girlfriend at the time (and now ex) while in a taxi in NYC. The trial date has been set for August 3.

We didn’t have a TBT selection last week, so you know what that means.

That’s right. We get two this week.

Today is Carl Thomas’ 51st birthday, so it’s only right we revisit his signature hit. Released as the second single from his debut album, Emotional, “I Wish” is one of those songs whose legacies far outsize their initial impact. The song only peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, but 23 years later, its status as a classic is not up for debate. Between the vulnerable lyrics, the vocal performance, and the turtleneck, the song and video have become icons of that era of R&B.

This past week, Brandy’s sophomore set, Never Say Never, turned 25 years old. Yes, the album deserved a retrospective, but accept this week’s TBT post as a consolation.

Following the juggernaut that was “The Boy Is Mine” (with Monica), B-Rocka released “Top of the World” (featuring Mase) as the album’s second single. It’s not clear if a physical single was ever released — which was a requirement to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time — or if it was simply underpromoted, but the song failed to chart in America. The song was released four weeks into the 13-week reign of “The Boy Is Mine,” so it isn’t far-fetched to imagine that the label held back on promotion to avoid the cannibalization of an existing hit. The song fared much better in the UK, where it peaked at No. 2.

Co-produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and the singer, the song is basically Brandy letting us know that life after fortune and fame isn’t without problems. It’s basically her version of “Same Ol’ G.”

On your average albun, a song as good as “Top of the World” would be a clear winner, but unfortunately for it, it was introduced to us via Never Say Never, an album that is truly stacked. However, the song is by no means forgotten, and if you need evidence, look no further than Burna Boy’s latest single, “Sittin’on Top of the World”, which samples the song.

Babyface’s recent appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts is one of the best in the show’s history. The legend — who shared the desk with Chante Moore, Tank and Avery Wilson — sung a range of classics he’s written for himself and others, and shared backstories about how they came to be.

According to Face, Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” almost never happened because Nippy wasn’t sure about it at first, and the “shoop”-ing on the hook is only there because he hadn’t finished writing the lyrics. The song would go on to become Whitney’s final No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot100.