BeyHive, welcome to the Renaissance.
On Friday (July 29), Beyoncé dropped her long-awaited seventh studio album, six years after crafting her magnum opus Lemonade. Filled to the brim with deep-house, disco and Afrobeats tracks that will surely be pouring out of nightclubs for at least the next year, Renaissance offers an escape from our harsh reality.
In a note to her fans posted on her website, Bey emphasized the spirit in which she hopes the album is taken. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving,” she wrote. “My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
Along with providing Beyoncé’s fans with some much-needed release, Renaissance is also brimming with new features, samples and writing credits: Grace Jones and Tems make blockbuster appearances on mid-album banger “Move”; rapper Beam opens up the high-powered “Energy” with a swaggering declaration of pure vibes; superstars like Donna Summer, Right Said Fred, Big Freedia, Teena Marie and even Kelis (who says she did not give her permission to be used) are sampled or interpolated throughout the album.
So, in celebration of Bey’s hotly anticipated new record, Billboard is taking a look back through her studio albums and the featured artists that helped shape them — check out all 22 artists featured on Beyoncé’s solo studio releases below: