Pop’s Material Girls, Rich With Influence

Much of the early impact surrounding the release of Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” stemmed from a stealthy, military-precise rollout that enlisted a host of writers, producers, marketers, lawyers, and social media experts. It means that it can occur. — came down to approval and credit issues.

These are legitimate concerns in nature, but are actually more philosophical and moral concerns. Recognizing sources of inspiration, direct or indirect, is good business practice, but in an age of internet-centric hyper-accountability, it’s also akin to taking offense as a defense.

This is a meticulous album, Renaissance, a rich and thoughtful exploration and interpretation that touches on decades of American dance music, particularly its black and queer roots, disco, house and ballroom. ”, it is probably very true. The credits and collaborators list is exhaustive — Beyoncé worked with producers and writers from those worlds and sampled foundational tracks from those scenes.

But when the album arrived, there were still quarrels and quirks. This originally included a writer for the Robin S. Club classic “Show Me Love,” which was then removed and then put back. (Though the credits don’t credit his StoneBridge, the remixer that popularized the original song.)

Days before the album’s release, its full credits circulated online, suggesting that the song “Energy” interpolated a Kellis song produced by The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo). Kelis, an alternative soul innovator in the early 2000s, posted a series of Instagram videos expressing frustration at not being told about the borrowing, despite not being the owner of the publishing rights. was not the writer or producer credited on most of the early albums he made. Guardian.) It opened up a conversation about legal and emotional obligations and Williams’ potential duality. Did.

When grievances of this sort spill over into the public eye (or, at worst, in court), often the text is about money, but the subtext is about power. And it’s worth noting that even Beyoncé, usually blameless, hasn’t been able to roam the modern internet completely accident-free and safe.

The debate about who borrows from whom and whether it’s acceptable rises when the borrower is one of pop music’s most powerful figures. But in “Renaissance,” Beyoncé mostly deftly rolls out her loans. She’s worked with longtime house music DJ and producer Honey Dijon, sampling the highly influential drag queen and musician Kevin Her Avance. margin.

A few days after “Renaissance” was officially released, Beyoncé released a series of remixes of that single. Her most famous is “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix),” which blends her tracks with Madonna’s “Vogue.” Of course, this 1990 song of hers represents the early mainstreaming of New York’s queer club culture. But Beyoncé brings a new cultural politics to this version, taking the roll call of Madonna’s silver screen white idols to important black women such as Aaliyah, Sister Her Rosetta Her Tharp, Santigold, Bessie Smith, Nina Her Simone. I turned it into a catalog of musicians. (At first glance the remix idea It started with a DJ named frooty treblez On TikTok, which received various production credits.)

The remix is ​​both philosophically and musically evocative, making it clear that pop stars themselves are voracious consumers, and are given some leeway when borrowed goods are received with respect. is showing. (Not surprisingly, both Beyonce and Madonna have been criticized by queer critics who consider their work appropriate.)

But even 30 years after Vogue, Madonna continues to demonstrate an ongoing and deep commitment to queer culture.she recently released “Material Gworurururu!” In collaboration with rapper Saucy Santana, he remixed his own song “Material Girl” (named after her 1984 hit, naturally). It’s a bit of a messy clash — Madonna’s vocals are hyper pop Her vocals sound like they’ve been through her filter . It’s tangy, but lacks flair.

Saucy Santana, the first gay rapper to find fame on reality television after working as a makeup artist for hip-hop duo City Girls, began gaining virality on TikTok a few years ago. Of all the snippets of his song that gained online attention, “Material Girl” was the most vivid, an ode to the same raw and extravagant deal as Madonna’s original.

But the title blink was his most effective ruse, as a way to connect Madonna with his nonchalance. This strategy spilled over into: “booty” His latest single, which is based on the same ecstatic horn sample as Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”. Even in a year when countless pop stars looted past samples, this was an especially bold move. Given that it is borrowed, “Are you my woman? (Tell me)” by Kailights.

Again, linking to the past is a sleight of hand. To the uninitiated, “Booty” sounds like Beyoncé’s own official signature. To those who are a little more knowledgeable, it may appear that Beyoncé’s endorsement was tacit and the result of a behind-the-scenes understanding. Or maybe sassy Santana had the audacity to overtake her.

Either way, these borrowings mark Saucy Santana as a pop star who understands that fame is pastiche. He risks asking for forgiveness rather than worrying about permission, building a persona out of the parts that are there to take. do.

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