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Obsessed With Beyoncé's 'Renaissance'? Keep The Dance Party Going With Albums From Frankie Knuckles, Big Freedia & More
If you love Beyoncé's new album 'RENAISSANCE,' here are five albums to add to your playlist that channel the house music, bounce and Afrobeats vibes on it.
If you've had Beyoncé's stellar new album RENAISSANCE on repeat, you're likely not alone. The 28-time GRAMMY-winner's house music-inspired LP is a tribute to the safe and freeing space of the dance floor, and expertly summons that magical and liberating space.
Throughout RENAISSANCE's 16 tracks, Beyoncé joyfully channels '90s queer Black culture — particularly ballroom pageants and house music, as well as disco, Afrobeats and bounce — for a lively dance party. The superstar taps a stellar, diverse cast of collaborators to create the good vibes, including disco legend Grace Jones, Chicago producers Honey Dijon and Green Velvet, Nigerian queen Tems, and Jamaican-American rap and dancehall experimenter BEAM.
If you're ready to keep the RENAISSANCE dance party going, read on for five albums and EPs that channel its energy and showcase the house music, New Orleans bounce and Afrobeats influences present on the new Beyoncé album.
Frankie Knuckles & Jamie Principle — Baby Wants To Ride / Your Love (1987)
Electronic music was born in the '80s in Chicago, Detroit and New York, from the ashes of the racist disco backlash of 1979. Young Black and queer producers in these cities used then-new music equipment, like the Roland 808 and 909 drum machines, in innovative ways to create futuristic sounds that became known as house and techno.
Those sparkling synths that open pivotal Chicago house track "Your Love" still sound magical. It was the first track produced by New York-born DJ Frankie Knuckles, aka The Godfather of House, to play on tape at his foundational Chicago club the Power Plant. It features sexy, playful vocals written and sung by fellow Chicago house legend Jamie Principle, and is considered a foundational track for both Chicago house and acid house, a futurist early Chicago-founded subgenre using the 909.
After stirring up Chicago dance floors, "Your Love" was originally released on Persona Records and credited to Principle in 1986. A year later, Trax Records released it as a B-side to "Baby Wants To Ride," another sexy, groovy house classic from the legendary pair, but only credited it to Knuckles.
"Baby Wants To Ride" is an 8-and-a-half minute dance romp of pure fun set to spacey acid house synths. It might be physically impossible to sit still while listening to these club classics.
Cajmere — It's Time (2010)
If you are a dance music fan, you probably know who Green Velvet is. Not only is he a tech house innovator, but he remains an in-demand and innovative artist in a subgenre flooded with young acts. One of his most recent credits is co-producing the RENAISSANCE track "COZY."
But Green Velvet is just one of many aliases of the Chicago DJ/producer born Curtis Jones, who has been setting things off with playful dance floor heaters since 1991. He also makes music as Cajmere, which he introduced in the early '90s with "Brighter Days" featuring Dajae and "Percolator," both now certified house classics.
On his 2010 compilation album It's Time, Jones packaged 22 Cajmere bangers released on his Cajual Records imprint from 1992 to 2010. There are several versions of "Brighter Days" and Percolator," along with more groovy '90s gems like "Re Ah Do Da Da Da," "Feelin' Kinda High" with Terence FM and "Let Me Be." There's also swingy numbers like "Horny" and "U Got Me Up" with Dajae, along with others that capture the creativity and rhythm of Jones' and Chicago dance music as a whole.
Big Freedia — Big Diva Energy (2021)
It's about time Big Freedia is celebrated as the superstar artist and next-level performer she is. Known as the Queen Diva, she's been making bounce music since 1999, and has helped popularize the highly twerkable hip-hop sound outside of New Orleans.
Originating in Nola in the late-80s, bounce music is made to make you move, with a banging, bouncy, high-energy bassline often with repetitive, party-starting vocals over it. Before Beyoncé tapped her for 2016's "Formation," Freedia had already received national attention in her own right, slaying SXSW and touring with the Postal Service and Matt and Kim in the early '10s.
As Freedia asserted on "Formation," she "came to slay," and indeed she has. The Queen Diva's voice and energy is also prominent on Beyoncé's "BREAK MY SOUL," which reunites the pair with a sample of Freedia's 2014 track "Explode." (Bey also channels bounce on the subsequent track, "CHURCH GIRL.")
To keep the booties bouncing, Freedia's 2021 Big Diva Energy EP has you more than covered. "BDE" will have you laughing at her humorous lyrics while your body can't help throwing down to the jingling beat. Across the EP's 17 minutes and 6 tracks, Big Diva Energy is full of bad-b— theme songs, like the "bye hater" anthem "Not Today" and the swaggy twerk tribute featuring Tank and the Bangas, "Betty Bussit."
Tems — If Orange Was A Place (2021)
Since shooting into the spotlight with her feature on Nigerian superstar Wizkid's 2020 hit "Essence," Tems'vcaptivating voice has made her a prominent figure in the diverse Afrobeats space herself. And now, the Nigerian singer/songwriter can add a Beyoncé collaboration to her list of achievements: Tems is featured on RENAISSANCE's Afrobeats-leaning "MOVE" (which also delivers a rare feature from iconic pop innovator Grace Jones).
Though putting Tems' vibey 2021 EP, If Orange Was A Place, on your RENAISSANCE playlist may slow things down a bit, never fear — it'll keep things sexy and groovy. The 18-minute EP showcases her wide vocal range and lush production from Ghanaian producer GuiltyBeatz, who co-produced "MOVE" with Nigerian-British producer P2J and Beyoncé.
Tems' gorgeous voice and deft songwriting is front and center on this project, particularly on songs like "Crazy Tings" and "Found," a collaboration with American R&B heavyweight Brent Faiyaz.
Honey Dijon — "Love Is A State Of Mind" (2022)
Chicago-bred DJ/producer Honey Dijon has been a staple of the global underground house scene since the '00s. As a Black trans woman, she channels queer Black culture in her upbeat, infectious dance floor-centric productions.
Dijon co-produced RENAISSANCE tracks "COZY" and "ALIEN SUPERSTAR," the latter of which channels ballroom competitions and the energy and rhythm of early Chicago warehouse parties. She was also tapped for the new BREAK MY SOUL REMIXES EP, on which her version fittingly highlights the "Queens in the front" lyric.
There is a treasure trove of Honey Dijon tracks, remixes and DJ sets online that capture these essential roots of dance music and will keep you voguing 'til you drop. Her latest single, "Love Is A State Of Mind" — featuring inspirational, rich vocals from Ramona Renea atop a banging classic house beat — is perfect for your RENAISSANCE playlist. (After all, Dijon co-produced it with Chris Penny and Luke Solomon, the same team she brought to work with Beyoncé.)
On Spotify, you'll find the track packaged with her last four singles (which should also be added to the RENAISSANCE playlist) along with the dance-floor-ready extended version of "Love Is A State Of Mind." Her 2020 Josh Caffé team-up, "La Femme Fantastique," delivers more ballroom fantasy to your dance party, as the featured London artist delivers confident caramel-toned ball-inspired lyrics over a spacey acid house production.
All of the songs are part of Dijon's Black Girl Magic project, which she has promised has more tracks to come — all of which will likely fit right into your RENAISSANCE dance party.
Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images
EDC 2019: Alison Wonderland, TOKiMONSTA, Deadmau5, Above & Beyond, Tiësto, More
The world-renowned EDM fest has released the lit roster of over 240 artists for its 23rd annual event, set to return to its ninth year in Las Vegas from May 17–19
Today Insomniac, which hosts the now-global Electric Daisy Carnival and other major EDM events, announced the highly anticipated lineup for its flagship Las Vegas fest, set to take place May 17–19 this year. EDC 2019 is positively stacked, featuring GRAMMY winners Diplo, David Guetta and Tiësto, plus GRAMMY nominees TOKiMONSTA, Paul Oakenfold, Deadmau5, Above & Beyond and Kaskade.
Deadmau5 will be making his first return to the fest since 2010, bringing his new "Cube 3.0" stage setup, and Guetta will be back for his first time since the 2012 event. Australian singer/songwriter DJ/producer extraordinaire Alison Wonderland, plus GRAMMY-nominated rave icons Steve Aoki, Armin van Buuren will also bring fire to the three-day event.
Unlike a typical music festival lineup, EDC lists theirs alphabetically by day, giving way to a treasure hunt to the many gems across the lines of names. Underground techno queens Charlotte De Witte, ANNA and Amelie Lens will all perform at the event, which has eight(!) stages, along with fellow techno heavy-hitter Adam Beyer.
South African DJ/producer and underground house legend Black Coffee will also perform, as well as fellow house heavyweights Green Velvet, Patrick Topping and GRAMMY nominee Eric Prydz. Green Velvet will be offering two sets, one as Get Real, his project with Detroit legend Claude VonStroke.
Several artists will be hopping on the decks together, including Topping, who will be doing a B2B set (a.k.a. back-to-back, or collab set, for those not up on the rave lingo) with fellow British DJ Eats Everything. U.K. dubstep stalwarts Skream and Rusko are on the lineup for an "old skool dubstep set," which, as Your EDM put it, is "absolutely unheard of."
But wait, who are the headliners? Pasquale Rotella, CEO and co-founder of Insomniac, believes that headliners are everyone that attends the festival, spreads the love and makes all the magic possible.
"Being a Headliner means looking at the world a little differently, and seeing beauty and inspiration everywhere you look. It’s about lifting up the people around you and making time for your family and friends. This is a journey we all take together—always connected and committed to one another," Rotella said in a statement on Insomniac's website.
If you want to get your dance on and check out the carnival rides, interactive art and plenty of lights and lasers with EDC in Vegas, you're in luck; tickets are still available. Check out EDC's website for more info.
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Electric Forest Announces 2019 Lineup: ODESZA, Kygo, Bassnectar & Zeds Dead To Headline
The electronic music and jam band festival in Michigan is back and ready to get you dancing for a full four days in June
Electric Forest Festival is officially returning to Rothbury, Michigan June 27-30, 2019, for a long weekend of dancing among trees and lasers. The fest has announced the lineup, which includes GRAMMY-nominated ethereal electronic duo ODESZA, tropical house DJ/producer Kygo and bass music heavy-hitters Bassnectar and Zeds Dead as the headliners.
The full lineup, like the headliners, also includes a solid offering of artists across the sounds of the electronic music spectrum, including GRAMMY-nominated deep house duo Bob Moses, Detroit house OG Claude VonStroke, pop/dance collab champs Hippie Sabotage, upbeat house duo Gorgon City, female bass powerhouses Alison Wonderland and TOKiMONSTA and one of the leading ladies of underground house, Honey Dijon.
The event is scaling back to a one weekend event from two the past two years and on top of the plenty of electronic artists and jam bands, also has some hip-hop artists to round things out. The jam band contingency is led by The String Cheese Incident, an Electronic Forest mainstay, who will be offering three performances over the weekend. Others include the Floozies, Lettuce and Twiddle, plus STS9, who blurs the line of electronic music, psych-rock and even hip-hop and could really fall in either category. GRAMMY winner T-Pain represents the smaller hip-hop contingency, along with rising female rapper Tierra Whack.
In addition to plenty of music to keep you dancing in the forest all weekend long, the event also offers a "Curated Event Series," yoga classes, silent disco, plus a VIP lodge camping offering. The full lineup plus more info on ticket options are available on Electric Forest's site.
Black Sounds Beautiful: How Beyoncé Has Empowered The Black Community Across Her Music And Art
In the debut episode of GRAMMY.com's Black Sounds Beautiful series, learn about the many ways in which Beyoncé's words, music and initiatives have celebrated and elevated the Black community
Beyoncé doesn't only loom large in American culture just because of her hits. Although her musical accomplishments are staggering—at 28 GRAMMY wins, she holds the record for most GRAMMYs won by a woman—Beyoncé's ongoing commitment to uplifting and celebrating the Black community has become a key part of her legacy.
This goes beyond her empowering songs—it's in her public statements and art, too.
In the debut episode of GRAMMY.com's Black Sounds Beautiful series, a special series honoring Black music and culture in all its forms, learn about the many ways in which Beyoncé's words, music and initiatives have celebrated and elevated the Black community and how she remains a steadfast fighter for the accomplishments of Black people everywhere.
"It's important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror—first through their own families as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the GRAMMYs—and see themselves and have no doubt that they're beautiful, intelligent and capable," Beyoncé said in an acceptance speech at the 59th GRAMMY Awards in 2017.
"As an artist, I believe it's my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect the times," she said in her GRAMMY acceptance speech this past March. "... So, I wanted to uplift, encourage and celebrate all of the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world."
She's continued to do exactly that throughout her entire career.
In 2018, Beyoncé headlined Coachella, becoming the first-ever Black woman artist to headline the festival. She used the history-making moment as a platform to celebrate Black culture, inviting performers from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to the Coachella stage and mixing in vocal snippets of Black icons like Malcolm X and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her 2020 GRAMMY-nominated music film, Black Is King, is a "love letter" to Black men. The film is the visual counterpart to The Lion King: The Gift, a 2019 soundtrack album curated by Beyoncé that spotlights African and Afrobeats artists like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and many others.
Check out the strengthening clip above and watch out for more episodes of Black Sounds Beautiful as GRAMMY.com's Black Music Month celebrations proceed throughout June.
Photo: Nelson Cosey
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Big Freedia's Tour Rider Features A Very Specific Olive Order
Bounce rapper Big Freedia shares a peek into her high-energy shows, explains her most important pre-show ritual, and reveals some of her favorite snacks on the road.
When it comes to backstage must-haves, Big Freedia typically reaches for pretty popular snacks like Doritos and Oreos. But there is one rather unusual snack item on the bounce rapper's tour rider — and she is very specific about it.
"I like olives," Freedia details. "I don't like all the weird olives, like with stuffed garlic or stuffed jalapenos, or any of that. I just want regular olives."
Even "regular olives" has a clarification, though: "I prefer my olives to have seeds," she adds. "I don't like the ones with the orange little pimento in them. I like the ones with just the seed in the middle… you know, the little small ones."
In this episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas, get to know the must-have items that Freedia always requests when she's on tour — and the items she'd include on her rider if money were no object. "Probably in about 25 years we're gonna step the rider all the way up," she adds with a laugh. "Fresh toilet seats! Five dozen roses! A pink carpet when I walk into my green room."
As one of today's most beloved bounce music artists — who has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé and Boyz II Men — Big Freedia's shows are high energy and very physical. Naturally, that means her pre-show rituals need to help her get loose.
"We stretch and kinda loosen the body up before we go out and dance. And maybe spring a butt cheek," she quips. "I'm usually excited. I'm about to flip on that switch, and you know, my Sasha Fierce is about to come out."
Press play on the video above to watch Freedia explain her backstage musts and what she loves most about her live show. Check out Big Freedia’s website to see where you can see her in action, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.