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Beyonce triumphantly closes out the Essence Music Festival

It was clear from the start that the sold-out crowd at the Superdome Sunday night was there to see one woman and one woman only on the last night of the Essence Festival: Beyoncé. They were happy to check out the starting lineup of Janelle Monae and TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank’s group) but it was the Mrs. Carter show that had expectations running high. And per her usual A-game performance, Beyoncé did not disappoint.

Her 90-minute show had the kind of big stadium scope that some of the festival’s other main stage acts lacked, including pyrotechnics, multiple costume changes and big dance numbers. Part of that big production delayed the concert start as the video screen displays required prolonged adjustment, but when Beyoncé came on the stage with “Run the World,” the stadium was ready for their queen to hold court. She radiated female empowerment, with her all female band and a predominantly female crew of dancers (her French dancers Les Twins are the only males on tour). She launched into her a mostly strident and aerobic show, all performed in killer heels of course, running through “If I were a Boy,” “Get Me Bodied,” “Naughty Girl,” “I Care,” Why Don’t You Love Me,” “1+1” (sultrily performed on top of a piano), “Irreplaceable,” “Love on Top,” “Crazy in Love,” “Single Ladies,” and “Grown Woman.” Her encore began with the chorus of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and led into “Halo.”

Throughout the show, interstitial clips of Beyoncé in various states played on the big screens– from a Queen of Versailles-type of set-up to highlights from her real life, all playing to the duality of Beyoncé’s image as larger-than-life superstar and regular girl we know and love. The singer expressed joy at being back in New Orleans and in the stadium where she performed the Super Bowl halftime show, all while letting the crowd know that she wanted them to get even more hyped, noting by the end of the show that “it took me a while to get you here,” but they were finally pumped enough for her satisfaction.

Earlier in the evening, Monae, hair in her recognizable pompadour and wearing a familiar white shirt, white pants and black riding boots outfit, played a set filled with tributes to some of her influences, including two different Prince covers (“Take Me With You,” “Let’s Go Crazy”).  She belted out a couple of songs from old albums for the faithful (like “Cold War”) but steered clear of anything too recent, such as “Dance Apocalyptic,” which she released the video for last week. Monae did play her most familiar hit (“Tightrope”) to the hilt, with the James Brown cape bit and  getting carried off stage. She returned to sing her encore “Come Alive (The War of Roses),” during which she ventured into the audience and got down on the floor of the aisle, then rock-starred it off the stage tossing her mic stand in her own mic-drop moment.

Mia Borders, Rachelle Ferrell, Luke James, Tamia, Kourtney Heart, Alice Smith, Marsha Ambrosius, and Mint Condition all played the smaller lounges around the Superdome. But the last day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center belonged to the all-star gospel tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin, with powerhouse performances by the likes of Michelle Williams, Yolanda Adams, and Kim Burrell.

Beyonce is 'Standing on the Sun' again: Hear the leaked version here

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In the two months since Beyoncé debuted a chunk of her new song “Standing on the Sun” in an H&M ad, much has happened: Kanye West released an album, Jay-Z announced a new one of his own, and Kim Kardashian gave birth to two directions. One thing that didn’t happen, though? A full version of “Standing on the Sun” — until today, according to reports.

Full of tropical-island vibes and lazy-summer swagger, this newly leaked (and perhaps unofficial and unsanctioned) version of the song seems strategically timed to soundtrack that beach/lake/Ecuadorian getaway you’ve been planning for Fourth of July weekend.

But will it? Take a listen below and find out:

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Beyonce wants you to 'Rise Up': Hear her new song here

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Beyoncé isn’t just Queen Bey —  she’s also Queen Tara, the character she voices in the new animated adventure Epic. And for that movie, she recorded a brand new song, an inspirational ballad titled “Rise Up.”

With the dearth of new songs (or information in general) regarding Beyoncé’s next album, this kids-movie companion song (co-written by Sia and produced by Hit-Boy) is whipping up a disproportionate amount of excitement for a track based on a cartoon. Still, a Beyoncé song is a Beyoncé song, so you know you want to hear it regardless of its origin.

And you can! Hear it below:

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Kelly Rowland reunites with Beyonce, Michelle Williams on 'You've Changed': Hear it here

Kelly Rowland is on a roll, and now she’s brought Beyoncé and Michelle Williams along for one more reunion ride.

In anticipation of her upcoming new album Talk a Good Game, Rowland has debuted the song “You’ve Changed,” which features her Destiny’s Child compadres.

This comes after the release of another cut of hers that also features Beyoncé, though only in spirit: The confessional “Dirty Laundry,” which asked the question, “Post ‘Survivor,’ she on fire, who wanna hear my bulls—?” If you do, give “You’ve Changed” a listen below:

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Beyonce's 'Grown Woman' finds its way online

Beyoncé may not be pregnant with a second child, but she is apparently ready to birth some new music.

Though she’s been teasing bits and pieces of different tracks (theoretically from a forthcoming album that has no title or release date), there hasn’t been a full new Bey song—until now.

“Grown Woman,” which was previewed a little ways back via a Pepsi spot, made its way online late last night. It’s clearly a leak, since the various streams of the track have been rapidly taken down over the course of the morning, but if you want to check it out you can stream it hereREAD FULL STORY

Kelly Rowland releases intense new track 'Dirty Laundry', talks abusive boyfriend, Beyonce struggles: Hear it here

While the rumor mill swirls about Beyoncé’s possible bun in the Bey-oven, her former Destiny’s Child stablemate is making her own internet waves with a confessional new song.

Kelly Rowland’s new album Talk a Good Game comes out next month, and so far we’ve already heard the smooth Lil Wayne-assisted “Ice” and the barely SFW “Kisses Down Low,” but this morning Rowland unleashed an entirely different kind of conversation starter in the song “Dirty Laundry.”

The song finds Rowland airing out her feelings about an abusive ex-boyfriend and having to watch as Beyoncé’s career skyrocketed while her own failed to reach those kinds of heights. Listen below: READ FULL STORY

Beyonce cancels concert due to exhaustion

Beyonce is canceling her Tuesday concert in Belgium because of dehydration and exhaustion.

In an email to The Associated Press, the singer’s publicist says Beyonce has been advised by her doctors to rest. She was scheduled to perform at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp. The show will be rescheduled and tickets can be used at that show.

Her next tour date is Wednesday at the same arena. The statement says “she is awaiting word from her doctors before making a decision.”

Beyonce, 31, launched her “Mrs. Carter World Tour” last month in Belgrade, Serbia. It wraps Aug. 5 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Read more:
Bikini-clad Beyonce busts out new song ‘Standing on the Sun’ in H&M ad: Watch it here
Beyonce and Jay-Z are a billion-dollar couple, probably
Beyonce, Nine Inch Nails to headline Made In America Festival

NPR is streaming the 'Gatsby' soundtrack: What's worth talking about

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Stop whatever you are doing and listen to The Great Gatsby soundtrack, which is streaming in full over at NPR days before its May 7 release. The album arrives pre-buzzed, thanks to behind-the-scenes work from Jay-Z and a series of tracks from a series of high-wattage artists such as Florence + The Machine, Beyoncé, Fergie, and Jack White.

What results is very good (Lana) and very bad (Florence) and very, very interesting, as is the nature of projects that overflow with talented people all working at once. Also: very period. If you didn’t know the movie is set almost 100 years ago, the soundtrack shouts it out at you, all honking brass and a preference for tempos that slide up the scale like liquor, getting hot just as they hit the chorus. It’s Baz Luhrmann’s costume party-version of the ’20s. But it’s fun! Also sad! (People have a way of dying in Gatsby.) Talking points from the 14-track soundtrack:

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Hear Emeli Sande and Bryan Ferry's Gatsby-fied redo of 'Crazy in Love'

She’s no Beyoncé, but she does have her own accent aigu in her arsenal.

As previous tracklists and snippets have suggested, Emeli Sandé teams up with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra to cover Queen B’s “Crazy in Love” for the getting-more-bonkers-by-the-day Great Gatsby soundtrack. And now that the full song has hit the web, you no longer have to guess at how old-timey it sounds.

Speaking of which, how are we to reconcile the lyric “Got me hoping you’ll page me right now” with the Great Gatsby‘s 1920s setting? Maybe by telegram? Or are we overthinking this?

Yes, yes we are. Allow us to shut up while you listen to Sandé and Ferry take on “Crazy in Love”:

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Bikini-clad Beyonce busts out new song 'Standing on the Sun' in H&M ad: Watch it here

Happy Beyoncdé!

First, the R&B gods blessed the webernet with a new, beach-set commercial featuring new music and ready-to-wear bathing suits from “Beyoncé as Mrs. Carter in H&M.” And as if that weren’t enough (and it never is!), we’re also being treated to a good-quality live clip of Bey performing another new song, “Grown Woman,” at an awesome-looking show in Paris.

The music in the H&M ad is in fact a large chunk of the previously unreleased song “Standing on the Sun,” so that’s probably the one that’ll excite you more. The other video, however, features Mrs. Carter’s “Grown Woman,” which we heard snippets of in an earlier Pepsi spot.

So, yes, if you want to keep up with Beyoncé’s career, you’re going to have to stop fast-forwarding the commercials on your DVR’d episodes of The Good Wife.

But for now, you can watch the videos that we’ve conveniently embedded for you below:

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