Since “Lemonade” (2016), her last solo studio LP and accompanying film, Beyoncé has tided fans over with a number of ambitious in-between projects.
In 2018, she performed as one of the headliners at the Coachella festival, where her show paid tribute to the marching band tradition of historically Black colleges and universities, and was widely hailed as a triumph — one that “reoriented her music, sidelining its connections to pop and framing it squarely in a lineage of Southern Black musical traditions,” as The New York Times critic Jon Caramanica wrote. The performance was later turned into a Netflix special and an album, both titled “Homecoming.”
Also in 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, her husband, released a joint album, “Everything Is Love,” credited to the Carters. And in June 2020, at the height of national protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, she released a song, “Black Parade,” with lines like “Put your fist up in the air, show Black love.”
“Black Parade” took the Grammy Award the following year for best R&B performance, one of four prizes that night that brought Beyoncé’s career haul to 28 — more than any other woman. This year, Beyoncé was nominated at the Academy Awards for best original song for “Be Alive,” from the film “King Richard,” a biopic about the father of Venus and Serena Williams.
How the early leak will affect the commercial prospects of “Renaissance” remains unclear. Years ago, the unauthorized release of music in advance could have devastating consequences for an album. But that danger has been mitigated by the shift to streaming.
And Beyoncé, like most other artists today, took advance orders for physical copies of her album, which will count on the charts as soon as they are shipped — usually the week of release. On Beyoncé’s website, the four boxed sets of “Renaissance” and its limited-edition vinyl version are sold out.