From lyrics in different languages, to beats and styles that many of us may have not been aware of before now, Beyonce’s new visual album, Black Is King, will turn you on to several different artists, sounds and producers.
On the Song “My Power”
Yemi Alade. The fifth born child of seven, she was born in Southeast Nigeria in the State of Abia. An internationally known artist from Africa to the United Kingdom to across the world, her past studio albums are King of Queens (2014), Mama Africa (2016), and Black Magic (2017). Yemi was voted Best Female Artist of the Year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and was nominated as the Best International Act at the 2015 BET Awards.
Tierra Whack. She absolutely murders the first verse of “My Power” but Beyonce’s latest project wasn’t the first time she had appeared on a full visual album. Tierra’s 15-song debut album, “Whack World” was presented in the same fashion, and had videos released for each track. This Philadelphia native used to open shows for who she calls her musical idol, Lauren Hill.
Busiswa. Hailing from Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, her past studio albums are Highly Flavoured (2017) and Summer Life (2018). “Busi”, a nickname she acquired from fans over the years, is known for her strong vocals and energetic dance style, and has released a total of ten singles so far. She spits her verse on “My Power” in the South African Zulu language.
Moonchild Sanelly. She is well known for her signature blue hair, and calls her unique style of music Future Ghetto Punk. It’s a genre that she created herself, and this singer, songwriter, model and dancer was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her given name is Sanelisiwe Twisha Moonchild, and she has two albums to date, Rabulapha (2015) and a collaboration album called Gqom Wave that was released in 2018.
DJ Lag. Born in the coastal city of Durban, this South African producer’s track “Trip to New York” was used as background music for Beyonce and Jay-Z’s entrance at the Global Citizen Festival that was held in Joburg. He describes being able to work with Beyonce as a dream come true, and the gqom infused instrumental of “My Power” is some of his best work to date.
Nija Charles. One of the secret weapons of the music industry, this New Jersey native has written songs for multiple artists. By the time she was 21, Nija had already penned Grammy-nominated hits, such as “Ring” for Cardi B and “Everything is Love” for Beyonce and Jay-Z. Nija has mentioned to reporters that she is working towards developing a career as a solo artist.
On the Song “Water”
Pharrell Williams. This legendary producer has worked with Beyonce before, and this current single, “Water” is another unique, creative collaboration. For example, there was the “Blow (Remix)” and 2002’s “Work It Out”, which was on the Austin Powers in Goldmember soundtrack. Beyonce played Foxxy Cleopatra in the film, acting side by side with actor Mike Myers.
Salatiel. According to reports, Salatiel Livenja Bessong, is the son of a pastor, and actually was going to be a doctor before following his heart and decided on a musical career instead. He is from Cameroon, which is located in Central Africa, and is currently the CEO of Alpha Better Records.
On the Song “Already”
Major Lazer. This Electric Dance Trio has been making lots of noise for over a decade, and is made up of DJ Walshy Fire, DJ Jillionaire, and Diplo. They have three full-length albums, two EP’s, and past collaborations with artists like Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Pharell Williams. Their previous hit “Pon De Floor” is where the sample from Beyonce’s mega hit, “Who Run The World (Girls)” came from.
Shatta Wale. After thanking Beyonce for believing in his talent on Twitter, many of his fellow Ghanans felt like Shatta deserved more recognition for putting the rap scene there on the map. Reports indicate that locals are suggesting that he be acknowledged by the Ministry of Tourism for his appearance on the ‘Black Is King’ song.
On the Song “Brown Skin Girl”
Blue Ivy Carter. The eight-year-old daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z actually ended up being the youngest person ever to win a BET Award. It was the BET HER Award, but it actually wasn’t the first time she’d performed. In her mom’s 2017 Netflix film, “Homecoming”, Blue Ivy sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
WizKid. This Nigerien singer/songwriter, whose real name is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, also has a very solid musical history, having collaborated with artists such as Drake and Chris Brown in the past. He started developing music when he was 11-years old, and was honored to assist Beyonce on this current ‘Black is King’ project.
Saint Jhn. This Brooklyn-born, Guyanese-American rapper began creating music when he was a pre-teen. His given name is Carlos St. John, picked up rapping from his older brother, and has collaborated in the past with artists like Usher and Jidenna.
On the Song “Mood 4 Eva”
Childish Gambino. Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, has been called the most prolific creator of his generation. Outside of his assist on ‘Black Is King’, he is also the creator of the Fox TV Comedy Atlanta, and performs as a stand-up comedian.
Oumou Sangare. Born in Bamako, Mali, the song “Mood 4 Eva” has elements from a song called “Diaraby Nene”, which was written by this well-known Grammy Award winning, previous United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.
Jay-Z. You can always tell how much fun he has making music with his wife. The two of them have a lengthy list of hits to date, including Crazy in Love (2003), 97’ Bonnie and Clyde, and Drunk in Love (2015).