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Five Producers on Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ You Need to Know About

From Boots to James Blake to MeLo-X, a guide to the main collaborators on the pop star's sixth album.

by THUMP Canada Staff
Apr 26 2016, 5:55pm

HBO

Unless you were trapped under a large boulder this weekend, you know Beyoncé dropped her sixth studio album (and second visual project) Lemonade, following the premiere of the accompanying short film on HBO. Drawing on influences including country, dancehall, and blues rock, it's one of her most diverse and personal records to date.

Though there's close to two dozen wide-ranging producers featured on the album (not to mention the pop star herself), THUMP is spotlighting five we thought were—to borrow a phrase from her soon-to-be tourmate DJ Khaled—"major keys" to the success of Lemonade.

Boots

Songs Produced: "6 Inch"

Who: Before logging major studio time on Knowles' 2013 self-titled album, Boots (whose real name is Jordan Asher) was a largely unknown American singer-songwriter and musician. One of the record highlights, "6 Inch" is all ominous gothic stomp, with a reference to Animal Collective's "My Girl" (which Asher broke down on Genius) and a sample of Isaac Hayes' searing cover of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David-penned song.

Diplo

Songs Produced: "Hold Up," "All Night"

Who: You already know who this guy is, but he brought his A-game to Lemonade, producing two tracks that are radically different from the 2014 Major Lazer-sampling blockbuster "Run The World (Girls)." "Hold Up," slyly interpolates both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' indie karaoke favourite "Maps" and Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On," and appears to be the early critical favourite. "All Night" is a groovy, slow-burning ballad which should seamlessly integrate into the singer's live sets, plus you really can't go wrong with the "SpottieOttieDopalicious" horns.

Read More on THUMP: Five Producers Give a Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Making of Santigold's '99¢'

James Blake

Songs Produced: "Forward"

Who: Clocking in at just over a minute, James Blake's "Forward" is more of a piano interlude than a proper song, but this pairing was long overdue given both artists' propensity for heart-wrenching ballads. Here's hoping the pop star will return the favor and appear on the UK artist's highly-anticipated album Radio Silence, scheduled for a 2016 release.

MeLo-X

Songs Produced: "Sorry"

Who: One of the more unexpected collaborators on Lemonade is Brooklyn rapper, producer, and multimedia artist MeLo-X, aka Sean Rhoen, who previously worked on music for Beyoncé and Jay Z's 2014 On The Run Tour. His varied output ranges from a collection of bootleg Adele remixes to last year's soulful Curate EP (which included guest vocals from Raury, Little Simz, and more), but he was likely tapped for his ear for Caribbean-influenced melodies. "She respects artists that are unconventional and are true to their craft," he told Pitchfork in a recent interview. "So she definitely just listens to my ideas and is very collaborative when it comes to finalizing things and getting ideas out."

Mike WiLL Made-It

Songs Produced: "Formation"

Who: Released without warning ahead of her internet-breaking Super Bowl performance, "Formation" marked the singer's first collaboration with Atlanta hitmaker Mike WiLL Made-It, best known for his work with 2 Chainz, Future, Rae Sremmurd, and more. Featuring a crucial assist from New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia, and dialogue sampled from the late internet personality and rapper Messy Mya, the whirring, five-alarm fire trap-leaning beat provides the perfect backdrop for the politically-charged anthem.

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