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by Mosi Reeves

June 28, 2011

Source Material: Beyoncé's 'Dangerously in Love'

by Mosi Reeves  |  June 28, 2011

When we think of Beyoncé's Dangerously in Love, we remember the hits. "Crazy In Love," with its brassy horn licks (courtesy of The Chi-Lites' "Are You My Woman [Tell Me So]") and funky go-go rhythms, is one of the best singles of the past decade. "Naughty Girl" oozed an aggressive sexuality that seemed more visceral than the pre-packaged showgirl struts of her previous group, Destiny's Child. And "Baby Boy" was right in tune with the dancehall revival and synonymous club anthems like Lumidee's "Never Leave You (Uh Ooh, Uh Ooh)" and Elephant Man's "Pon De River, Pon De Bank."

But Dangerously was split between those celebrated numbers and nearly a dozen torch songs. It's not an easy transition. The singles arrived early and ended quickly, and Beyoncé spent the rest of the hour on melodramatic love tunes like "Yes," "Speechless" and "Signs," the latter coyly referencing her love affair with Jay-Z: "I was in love with a Sagittarius/ He blew my mind." Some of the ballads, particularly "Me, Myself and I," aren't bad, and they gave her a chance to demonstrate her incredible, octave-scaling voice. But the uptempo songs were so incredible that they left us wanting more.

Ultimately, Dangerously isn't considered a classic for its quality (although, quibbles aside, it's a very good album), but because it effectively launched Beyoncé as a multimedia hyphenate, starring in Hollywood films and leading the future of pop culture. She was already a singular presence as the lead vocalist in Destiny's Child, but her solo debuts multiplatinum success certified her as a prime R&B star in the new millennium. This signaled the demise of D.C., which Beyoncé's controversial father/manager Matthew Knowles seemingly built around his daughter's talents; the group disbanded two years later, having served its ultimate purpose: Beyoncé is an icon now.

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