Beyoncé’s last two albums were surprise releases, forcing fans to scramble to scour the credits to discover who collaborated and contributed to which song upon their first listens. But in keeping with her more old-school ,rollout for her new album, Renaissance (dropping July 29), she put out its song credits a week before the release, to stoke the hype even higher. As expected, the lineup is an Avengers-level gang of usual suspects and exciting names, befitting Beyoncé’s first solo LP in six years.
Because she only revealed composer credits, it’s unclear who contributed vocals, versus just co-writing or producing (for example, Jay-Z is credited on “Break My Soul”) but we can make a few educated guesses as we ride out these last seven Beyoncé-less days.
With all due respect to Jay, it’s pretty much par for the course to see his name on three tracks, which leaves the sight of an Aubrey Graham collaboration as the biggest deal. The superstars have only officially released one song together, “Mine,” from Beyoncé’s self-titled album in 2013. (Though an oft-rumored collaboration, “Can I,” which features minor contributions from Beyoncé, was finally released on Drake’s 2019 Care Package compilation.) More intriguing than the thought of them following up their one, instant-classic collab, is the idea that they both seem to be in similar innovative musical zones right now. Considering “Heated” also lists frequent Drake producer Bo-1da, it seems like we’ll be hearing Beyoncé in Drake’s musical world. Both Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind and Beyoncé’s first Renaissance single “Break My Soul” dabbled in house music, and she has hinted that a majority of the forthcoming LP will continue to explore that sound.
With Skrillex and Nile Rodgers’ names showing up on the credits—and reported sampling of Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Right Said Fred—that’s meaningful evidence that Renaissance will be dance heavy. (Drake flipped the latter group’s “I’m Too Sexy” on his ubiquitous 2021 hit “Way 2 Sexy,” and it would be perfect if Beyoncé offered up her own interpretation of their defining track. That said, the group did have some other dance hits in the early ‘90s that could make for good fodder, like “Don’t Talk Just Kiss”).
The credits also indicate that Beyoncé is working with a slew of intriguing, critically-acclaimed artists as producers and songwriters. A.G. Cook, one of the key architects of P.C. Music’s surrealist approach to dance music, worked on “All Up in Your Mind,” while R&B favorites Syd and Sabrina Claudio are listed on “Plastic Off the Sofa.” The Skrillex track “Energy” also sees Beyoncé reuniting with The Neptunes. The increasingly ubiquitous Nigerian superstar Tems, and her close collaborator GuiltyBeatz, appear on “Move,” indicating that this could be another foray into Afrobeat music following her exploration into that sound with 2019’s The Lion King: The Gift. And there’s a hefty dose of appearances from triple OG engineer/producer Mike Dean across the album.
Two of the most present names in the liner notes are Denisia “Blu June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi Coney” Coney, who make up the writing and production duo NOVA WAV. The two have made a name working on songs by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, as well as multiple tracks from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collaborative album. ”
The tracklist hints that there will be at least one overtly political record, which jibes with the superstar singer’s history of outspoken activism. It’s unclear what “America Has a Problem” will address specifically, though there’s not exactly a shortage of issues that the title could be alluding to. (More like, “America Has So, So Many Problems.”)
Other noteworthy names include R&B legend Raphael Saadiq (whose collaboration was previously teased in Variety last month), prolific Beyoncé-classic co-writer The-Dream on several songs (including the aforementioned “Break My Soul”)., and a track from Hit-Boy. The latter is responsible for some of Bey’s hardest hitting bangers in recent years, like “Sorry,” “***Flawless,” and “Feeling Myself.” Although Hit knows his way around a ballad, it’s safe to assume a new radio-ready heater is on deck.