Photo Credit: Carlijn Jacobs

As I prepare for the phenomenon that The Renaissance World Tour will be, I spend my days re-playing the album over and over. And after 9 months since its release, I can say I see the full picture Beyoncé painted for this project. Renaissance is, without a doubt, an album that will stand the test of time, because it’s a time machine in its own right. It’s an ode to music that invigorates our bodies and souls. But, despite the lighthearted nature of the record, it’s inevitable to ignore the depth behind it.

Renaissance is a statement, and a monolith in Beyoncé’s career. This record is cocky; raw; layered; studied; cohesive; fresh and, obviously, a vibe. It’s also exactly what its title implies: a revival. You can hear Prince, Donna Summer, House, Techno, Ball culture, and more. But essentially, you get to hear Beyoncé’s Renaissance. Because this album also encapsulates the musical eras she has experimented with throughout her career. I am amazed every time I hear people say she has distanced herself too much from her beginnings, when in actuality all her projects are connected through a red thread, you just have to follow it. It’s undeniable that her voice has matured, and also her taste as an artist, but in essence, she is connected to herself constantly. I can’t help but to think that Blow, a song on her self-titled album released back in 2013, would have fitted, perfectly, in Renaissance, same with Kitty Kat from B’Day (2006). Even Work it out, the single released in 2002 on the album that introduced her to the world as a soloist: Dangerously in Love, reminds me of the funkiness in Virgo’s Groove.

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Because this is the thing, Beyoncé is a studious artist. She knows who to collaborate with to bring out the best experiences through music. Many of the people that have worked with her, from background singers, to producers have highlighted this trait about Mrs. Carter. I actually remember the first time I grasped how deeply connected she is to her projects. I was watching an interview where Montina Cooper, one of The Mama’s – former Beyoncé background singers – talked about her experience while working with the singer. She said:

She knows everything. She knows the names of the lights. Oh yes! She is on! And it’s just a level of excellence that can not be compared to any that I have ever experienced.

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This level of compromise and grind, sometimes to her detriment, has lead her to an undeniable success that stands the test of time and justifies her longevity after so many years. This, paired with her capacity to stay on top of the game and the constant awareness of cultural shifts, allows her to tap into musical languages that speak to a universal audience.